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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  July 21, 2009 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT

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fighter program, it was at the time -- at the time they were talking about 750. then the numbers started coming down and then a -- as it approached, i guess, 243, the air force officials repeatedly stated that no fewer than that would be sufficient without a moderate level the risk. my concern would be the same concern when we're talking about ground capability. when we see countries like china and russia passing up -- us up in areas. we know china has got their d-12's, that the -- or the j-12's and russia, i believe they're calling theirs the t-50's. we do know those are fifth-generation fighters. and it's very disturbing to me that we would consider stopping at this point when this is not going to be adequate to get us
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out of the medium-risk category. i certainly support the effort to maintain those seven. quite frankly, when senator chambliss introduced an amendment to expand it by seven, i was thinking we should really be shooting for more, and i think he agreed with that. however, currently with the exports out there and with the additional seven that was put in in the committee, that would be enough to keep the line open. so i strongly support the effort to keep those numbers where they are. i would yield the floor. the presiding officer: who yields time? mr. levin: madam president? the presiding officer: 14 minutes and 45 seconds. mr. levin: how much do the opponents have? the presiding officer: 45
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seconds. mr. levin: if the senator from arizona would go and then senator dodd. the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. chambliss: would you say again how much time we have remaining. the presiding officer: 45 seconds. mr. mccain: i would be glad to yield a couple more minutes, i think, to the senator from connecticut. do you want to go ahead now? madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: i'll be fairly brief here. this argument has been made, and we pretty well covered most of the issue. i would remind my colleagues that all the things we do are a matter of choices because we don't have unlimited amounts of funds obviously. and if you spend money on one project, then obviously you may have to spend less on another. and that is the case of the f-35
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if we don't eliminate this $1.75 billion. most importantly, i want to point out again this amendment is more than just about a weapons system. this amendment is about whether we will stop doing business as usual, and that is continuing to fund weapons systems that are no longer needed and unnecessary. we are not saying the f-22 isn't a good aircraft. we are saying it's time to end the production of the f-22. the president of the united states has threatened to veto this entire bill. that's not good for the men and women in the military to have to go through this whole process over again. the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, the chief of staff of the air force, and very importantly, the secretary of defense, who has served now under two presidents and has gained the respect and appreciation of all of us for
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his service. madam president, i would ask unanimous consent that secretary of defense gates speech last july 16 to the economic club of chicago be included in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: madam president, i am a student of history, and there's one particular president that i have grown along with historians to appreciate more and more for his two terms as president of the united states, and that's dwight david eisenhower. we were at peace during president eisenhower's term, and many believed that perhaps the war in vietnam might have been avoided if we had heeded his wise counsel. there are many, many things that president eisenhower did to contribute to this nation both in war and in peace. and on several occasions i have reread his farewell speech of
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january 17, 1961. in his speech, president eisenhower said, "in the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. the potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. we must never let the weight -- never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. we should take nothing for granted. only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper measuring of the huge industrial and military struggle with liberty at stake. military struggle with liberty at stake, only thus we shall remain despite every
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provocation." so security and liberty may prosper together. i want to repeat that last sentence. "to meet it successfully there is called for not so much the emotional and transitory cycle of crisis but those which enable us to carry forth steadily and surely and without complaint the burdens of a long struggle with liberty at stake." oeupbld add to president -- i would only add to president eisenhower's farewell address to the nation which is compelling. the words should be changed from military industrial to military industrial congressional complex. what we are seeing here, despite the advice and counsel of our president, of our secretary of defense, of our uniformed military, with rare exception, is a recommendation that we stop with this aircraft and build another. not that we stop building fighter aircraft for our
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inventory, not that we stop defending this nation with the weapons systems that we need. we're even defending a weapons systems continued production that has never flown in the two wars that we're engaged in. so i urge my colleagues to understand the impact of this amendment. if we're able to succeed, it's going to send a signal that we're stopping business as usual, and we must move forward providing the men and women with the necessary means to win the struggles we are in throughout the world, he especially two wa. so i urge my colleagues to understand that sacrifices will be made. jobs will be lost. it will cause disruption in some communities. but our first obligation is the defense of this nation and the use of scarce defense dollars in the most effective fashion. i urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this amendment. mr. president -- madam president, i yield the
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floor. mr. levin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: i have nine unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and that they be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: madam president, i have two minutes; is that correct? the presiding officer: correct. the senator from connecticut. mr. dodd: let me begin with my great respect for carl levin and jock mccain and their work in this area. there is nothing more important than the national security of our nation. it is that argument that brings those of us on this side of the table in opposition to this amendment. this program is a critical important program to maintain superiority. not parity, but superiority, which has always been our goal in protecting our national security interests. it was a very pentagon itself which advocated that we move
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forward with this program only 36 months ago. obviously people can change their minds. but over the months when they are preparing for the needs of our nation, it was the commission and the future of aerospace authorized by this congress which concluded the following, madam president. they said -- and i quote -- "that the nation immediately reverse the decline and promote the growth of scientifically and technologically trained u.s. aerospace workforce. adding that the breakdown of america's intellectual and industrial capacity is a threat to national security and our capability to continue as a world leader." it was the pentagon, madam president, only 36 months ago in their quadrennial review that said the following: the report stated that the f-22 production should be extended to fiscal year 2010 with a multiyear acquisition contract to ensure the department does not have a gap in fifth-generation stealth capabilities. end of quotation. reports that the f-35 could be
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delayed an additional 11 months. that creates a gap of five years. the danger of losing not just any jobs, anywhere from 25,000 to 90,000 aerospace workers, is not insignificant. four days ago we were warned there's been in excess of 15% decline in our industrial capacity in the aerospace industry. this will hit us even further. the ability to have a workforce capable of building these aircraft we need in the 21st century is at risk. that is why the issue not only of the technically capability aircraft but the workforce to produce it is at stake with this amendment. i say that respectfully. when we have this gap in production, which we've been warned about now, by the pentagon, not the industry itself, by the pentagon, by the very commission this congress authorized to determine what our capacities were and the industrial capacity in aerospace, we are defying both reports and both replgtss by --
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recommendations by canceling this program at this number and placing at risk the aircraft we need in the 21st century. i urge my colleagues respectfully to reject this amendment. there is a compromise, in my view, available to end up with a number far less than the originally projected numbers. to canceling the program prematurely, create the gap in our production capabilities i think is of great danger to our nation, not to mention jobs which are critical. for that reason, i urge the rejection. a senator: how many minutes left? the presiding officer: 5 minutes, 45 seconds. mr. levin: i would yield 2 minutes to the senator from delaware. mr. carper: madam president, i want to commend -- the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. carper: thank you. i want to commend the leaders of the committee. i just want to commend senator chambliss and senator dodd for their herculean efforts here to try to stave off the closure of the line. i try to put myself in the shoes
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of others when i take a position on an issue. i say what i say because this comes from the heart and not because of lack of respect for the efforts that you have shown in support of your constituents. madam president, we have today -- we've just come out of eight years where we've seen our national debt double. we've incurred as much new debt over the last eight years as we did in the previous 208 years. we're looking this year to a one-year deficit higher than any in the history of our country, believed to be well over $1 trillion. if you go back to tkwupb and you look -- go back to 2001, in 2001 the cost of major weapons systems it was about $400 billion. we tell folks who are running the pentagon, tell us which weapons systems you need and those you don't, secretary gates said very clearly as his deputy,
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the last president, this president has said we don't need more f-22's. we have f-15's, f-16's. before too many years we'll have 2,500 f-35's. if the f-22 is not continued in production, my hope is we're smart enough, since lockheed has a role in building the f-35 that some of the folks that build the f-22 can certainly build the f-35. i would hope that be the case. i ask us to keep in mind, i still think about how much it costs to fly an aircraft for an hour. anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 for the f-22. it's just too much money. thanks very much. mr. levin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: there is no gap. the q.d.r. said we should be building fighters, f-22 production into fy 2010.
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what we're now doing is exceeding that production with f-35's. we have 30 f-35's in this fy 2010 budget. there is no gap in fighter production. as to whether the f-35 is a capable fighter, let me just read from what secretary gates says. "the f-35 is 10 to 15 years newer than the f-22. it carries a much larger suite of weapons. it is superior in a number of areas. most importantly air-to-ground missions such as destroying sophisticated enemy air defenses. it is a versatile aircraft, less than half of the total cost of the f-22." the f-22 is costing an awful lot more than has been represented here because they're asking now, if this amendment is defeated, that we would be spending $1.75 billion for seven f-22's, which is over, or approximately $250
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million a copy for the ones that the opponents of this amendment want to build this year. madam president, the president of the united states, the last president of the united states, the previous one, two secretaries of defense -- this one and the previous one -- two chairmen of the joint chiefs of staff, secretary of the air force, chief of staff of the air force say it is time to end production of the f-22. to move into greater production of the f-25, which will serve three services, not just one. if not now when? if not now when? when will we end production of a weapons system if not now when you have both president obama and president bush trying to end it, sects of defense trying -- secretaries of defense trying to end it, chairman of the joint chiefs trying to end production of the f-22. we must now do the sensible thing. the thing which is requested by secretary tbaissments not because he's saluting the
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commander in chief as has been suggested. he he is not just saluting the commander in chief, he feels deep in his gut that we must change the way that we do business. we must finally bring some of these systems to an end. and that is why secretary gates so passionately believes that we must bring this production of f-22 to an end and move into move into great pore ducks of f-35. more f-35's in this budget than would be produced of the f-22 if this amendment is defeated. i don't know if there is any time left. if there, i would yield the balance of my time. and i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or to change your vote? seeing none, the levin amendment number 1469, the ayes are 58, the nays are 40. the amendment is approved. without objection.
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the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate stands in recess until 2:15 p.m.
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however, c-span funded? >> donations. >> sponsorships or taxpayer funded possibly. >> philanthropy. >> the government may be? >> palace c-span funded? 30 years ago america's cable companies traded c-span as a public-service and a private business initiative, no government mandate and no government money. >> president obama will answer questions on health care and has remarks on health care at the white house shortly and we hope to have that for you live right here as c-span2 and president obama will also answer reporters' questions on health care and other issues to on nights when he holds a news conference you can see live coverage at 8:00 p.m. eastern on and c-span radio. while we wait for the president of the white house from this morning, "washington journal" talked about health care with a top republican on the house commerce committee, one of several committees going through
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the health care legislation. this conversation runs about a half-hour. >> rep. joe barton of texas is the ranking republican on energy and commerce committee, welcome. you have said. leading the charge against the health care bill, and it in your intent to kill it. >> guest: i don't know that i intend -- i'd want to kill health care reform obviously. the bill is currently being marked up in the energy commerce committee is a bad bill. it is over a thousand pages long, it radically changes health care as we know today. there are about 15 percent of the american population that doesn't have health care or doesn't have a the kind of health care or health insurance, excuse me. so about 80 or 85% of the american people have health care insurance that they like in this bill kills that within five to eight years. over 100 million americans that are currently covered by health
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care plan that they like lose it to. and that is, when you have a a 15% solution that hurts and 85% problem, that is not a good bill and that is what this bill is, it's radically changing health care delivery in health care insurance as we know in america. >> host: how do see -- what is the process by which it would essentially destroyed or kill private insurance? >> guest: well, there are employee employer mandates in the bill, and it is something you have to do, a federal requirement. in the employer and was made a very minimal small-business exemption has to provide not just health care insurance, but kinda a health care package that today would be considered kind of a cadillac plan. if they don't there are subject
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to an 8 percent per employee payroll tax every year. most small businesses and maybe even large businesses are going to look at that mandate, a look at what they have to provide half to cover all pre-existing conditions, their mandates about the types of coverage and the level of coverage and they will probably opt out to providing the health care insurance for their employees. on the other side of the equation the employee has a mandate that he or she has to have health insurance. and if they don't there are subject to a 80 percent payroll penalty on an individual basis so you're kind of kedging coming and going. there are provisions in the bill that create various new medico health review board's the and we offer an amendment last night by congressman gingrey of georgia
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in the energy and commerce committee that would say no federal official or employee may interfere with the practice of medicine. every democrat but one voted against that amendment so you are creating a system on one side with the government is going to tell the health care profession how to practice medicine or a least potentially they could and any time to give a government official power must use it to, and on the other side treating all these mandates that have to be met. health care insurance as a note today in america and health care delivery in today in america within five to eight years this bill's passing would be gone. that is just a fact, that is not republican rhetoric. >> host: today in "the wall street journal" 10 presses on the health care overhaul and asks which industries are most likely to lose and which might gain from any overhaul. perhaps no industry stands to gain more from the changes in health insurers to get tens of
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millions because americans will be required by law to carry health insurance. how big of a player is in the health-insurance industry and how much are they weighing in on this? >> guest: as an interesting question, i think the honest answer is in terms of their impact in washington and the debate is zero. they are not being listened to, they have become on the democratic side one of the bogeymen of president obama end the democrats that are on the lead committee is. you know, i think and as much as i respect "the wall street journal" i would take a little bit of issue with the author of that particular piece because who gains in terms of a and this
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plan or this obama proposal is a the government run health care option. because it creates such a mandate for a plan with all the various things that have to be covered, if you read the private insurer that gets to manage the government plan, you might gain. but if you're the private insurer doesn't manage to the government plan, you are at a business. >> host: our guest is congressman joe barton of texas and you can call their comments, democrats to 027-37-0002, republicans to 027-37-0001 and independence to 026-28-0025 and e-mail said journal as or send comments to twitter as c-span w.j.. we have a comment on twitter from someone call dr. john baker the rise, as a fellow texan would you agree we have no health care but instead of disease and injury management
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system? >> guest: if the doctor is talking about the status quo of occurrence system, i'm not sure exactly how to answer his question. i would say any american or any person in the united states from a dozen have to be citizens, if they need health care they're going to get it in some way. if my now been approved a delivery system where you go to your primary care doctor and are referred to a specialist or a minute to a hospital if it's a serious situation, but you are going to be cared for emergency room or clinic for an than normal private health care delivery system. today. there are people that say what we have is a sick care system as opposed to health care system and that's the way our insurance policy is practice are set up we don't do the whole range of preventive and wallace programs. because traditionally some of those have been considered
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discretionary and you have to be really sick are really in bad shape before the health care insurance system kicks and. >> host: was go to the phones, we have more rain from highland, california on the democrats' line. >> caller: good morning thomas c-span. what i wanted to say is the republicans pass than $800 billion pharmaceutical bingo, they paid for with a pass tax cuts for the rich or trillions of dollars. they also have no plan themselves for reforming health care and i have given the bailout of a close to a trillion dollars and then they asked, how to repay for this? i don't think any of those other things including the iraq war that's going to be $2 trillion has been paid for, saying that i pay just as an individual anywhere between 2500 to $3,000 a year for basic health care
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coverage and i know i am one of those people that is paying for everybody else. i wanted to know from the congressman how do you changed that too where i would like to have a government auction where i am not paying as much so was of the republicans' response for health care reform? thank you. >> guest: that is a very polite caller in very good question. first thing is republicans do have an alternative. we think that we ought to have a refundable tax credits for individuals that make below certain income levels. we think there ought to be vouchers also if you don't thank you have an incomes of as we give you the money and you go out and purchase and the private health care insurance market the healthcare plan that is best for you in your family. we also believe every americans who can't get health insurance under the regular system that wants to have health insurance should be able to have every
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precessing condition covered, should able to go into either a puente situation where you create these regional pools, congressman and shedding of arizona has a pool amendments. perhaps have a co op of democratic congressman voucher of virginia has floated the idea of some sort of a national co op. health care co-op for you can use these vouchers or this refundable tax credits to go out and purchase you're own health-insurance plan. i'm going to offer an amendment sometime during the market this week in energy and commerce committee that would make it possible where every american in this country that wishes to have health insurance to go out and purchase that and if you can pay for a because you don't have a job or below certain income level the government would pay for it. so that is not having a plan -- >> really this report apportioned to take you live as promise to the white house and
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the presence with remarks on health care. >> i want to say a few words about a very and for a vote that just took place in congress. a long before eid took this office i argued that to meeting our greatest challenges would require not only changing policies in washington by changing the way we do business in washington. i also promised that part of that change would be eliminating waste and inefficiency in our defense projects. reform that will better protect our nation, better protect our troops, and save taxpayers tens of billions of dollars. as commander in chief i will do whatever it takes to defend the american people which is why we have increased our funding for our military and why we will always give a man and women in uniform the agreement to support they need to get the job done. but i reject the notion that we have to waste billions of taxpayer dollars on an outdated and unnecessary defense projects to keep this nation secure.
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that is why i have taken steps to greatly reduce no bid defense contracts, that's why i have signed an overwhelmingly bipartisan legislation to limit cost overruns on weapons systems before the spiral out of control and that's why i'm grateful that the senate just voted against an additional 1.75 it billion dollars to buy f-22 fighter jets that military experts and members of both parties say we do not need. at a time when we're fighting two wars and a sincerest avocet, this would have been in inexcusable waste of money. every dollar of waste in our defense budget is a dollar can spend to support our troops or prepare for future threats or protect the american people. our budget is a zero sum game and if more money goes to f-22 and as our troops and our citizens to lose. so what to think secretary gates for his outspoken leadership on this issue, i want to thank
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every member of congress to put politics aside to do what is right for the american military and american taxpayers and particularly want to thank senators laugh-in and mccain for helping to if this happened now, i have also said the health care costs are the biggest driver summer deficits. nobody disputes that so i'm looking for to meeting with several members of congress are working to pass health insurance reform that will bring down long-term costs, expand coverage and provided more choice. i know that there are those in this town who openly declared their intention to block reform. a familiar washington script that we have seen many times before. these opponents of reform rather score political points than offer relief to americans who have seen premiums double in costs grow three times faster than wages. they would maintain a system and that worse for the insurance and the drug companies while becoming increasingly unaffordable for families and for businesses.
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but there are many others who are working hard to address this growing crisis -- i know that there is a tendency in washington took center with the differences instead of underscore a common ground but make no mistake we are closer than ever before to the reform of the american people needed and we will get the job done. i have urged congress to act and health care reform bill is making the way to their respective committees in the house and the seventh to reflect the heart and consensus about how to move toward so let me just lay out the substantial common ground in the current bills. we have agreed that our health reform bill will extend coverage and include unprecedented interest protections for the american people hear of it under each of these bills he will be denied coverage if you got a pre-existing medical condition. you won't lose your health care if you change jobs, and if you lose your job or if you start a business and you won't lose your insurance if you get sick.
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we have agreed that our health reform bill will promote choice. america -- americans will be able to compare the price and quality of different plans and pick the plan that they want. if you like your current plan will be able to keep it there and let me repeat that -- if you like your plan in will be able to keep its and each bill provides for a public auction that will keep insurance companies honest, ensuring the competition necessary to make coverage affordable. we have agreed that our health reform bill will emphasize prevention and loss by investing in programs that help americans live healthier lives and save money preventing illness, an increase in the competitiveness of our country. we have agreed that our health reform bill will protect american families from financial catastrophe if they get sick. that's why each of these bills has out of pocket limits and will help ensure that families don't go bankrupt because of illness.
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and we have agreed that our health reform bill will include dramatic measures to cut costs while improving quality. each of these bills improves oversight while cracking down on waste, each will help reduce on a giveaways to insurance companies in medicare, and each of these bills will provide incentives so that patients get the best care not just the most expensive care. the consensus that the force is not limited to congress. in did we forged a level of consensus on health care that has never been reached in the history of this country. the health care providers have agreed to do their part to reduce the rate of growth in health care spending. the pharmaceutical industry has agreed to spend reductions that will make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors. hospitals have agreed to bring down costs american nursing association and the american medical association who represent millions of nurses and doctors who know our health care system test have announced their
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support for reform. we have travelled long and hard to raise this point, i know that we have further to go but i have to say that the american people are absolutely clear that this won't be easy but that the road and that we have traveled doesn't just touchback to the six months of my administration. it stretches back year after year, decade after decade for all the times of washington failed to tackle this problem. time and again we have heard excuses to delay and to defeat reform. time and again the american people have suffered because people in washington play the politics of the moment is that of putting the interests of the american people first. that's how we ended up with premiums rising three times faster than wages and how we ended up with businesses choosing between shedding benefits and shutting their doors, that's how we have been burdened with runaway costs and huge gaps in coverage. that is the status quo, that is what we have right now.
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and the american people understand of the status quo is unacceptable. they don't care who is up for missed down politically in washington, they care about what is going out in their own lives here and they don't care about the latest on a political attack, they carry out with their families will be crushed by rising premiums, whether the businesses they work for will have to cut jobs or whether their children are going to be saddled with debt. and so i understand that some will try to delay action until the special interests can kill its while others will simply focus on a scoring political points, we've done that before. and we can choose to follow the play began and never get over the goal line and will face an even greater crisis in the years to come. that is one path we can travel. or we can come together and insist that this time it'll be different, we can choose action over in action, shoes progress over the politics of the moment and rican build on the issue in
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their common ground that has been forced into the hard work needed to finally pass the health insurance reform of the american people deserve. i guarantee that we do pass this bill history log repoire the demands for and thus delay or and thus debates in the news cycle, it will report to the hard work done by the members of congress to pass the bill and the fact the people of a sentence here to washington insisted upon change. that is the word that we have come here to do in a look for to working with congress and the days ahead of getting the job done. think everybody -- thank you everybody. >> [inaudible] >> and president obama will answer reporters' questions about health care and other issues to on night when he holds a news conference. you can see it live at 8:00 p.m. eastern on and hear its on the c-span radio.
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also today's white house briefing with press secretary robert kids coming up at 1:45 p.m. eastern time, we hope to have that for you live right here on c-span 2. the senate is in recess now for a weekly political party lunches and will be back 2:15 p.m. eastern time to continue work on defense department programs and policy for the new budget year. the commander of u.s. forces in
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baghdad talked about efforts to comply with the u.s. iraq's security agreements, requiring u.s. troops to leave an iraqi cities and major general daniel boulder talks with reporters for about a half-hour. >> thank you for joining us this morning. this is the first opportunity we have had to me with you in this format. and by way of introduction of this is a major general daniel olver who is eight multinational division baghdad commanding general. he assumed his duties there in february of 2000 -- 2008. and obviously has a very important area of responsibility there in iraq and so general thank you again for joining us and sharing your perspective. i know you have a few, like to make to start with the and then for taking questions from the press corps so without the return of over to you.
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>> well, thanks very much. good morning everybody, good morning to all of you. as brian mentioned, i'm dan pollster, crimes with soldier. on the commander of the first cavalry division at fort worth texas and here at iraq and serve as will the additional baghdad general and in this role at least 31,000 u.s. soldiers as well as some sailors, airmen and marines and our mission is to present the 7 million people of baghdad. and that is baghdad province, this about 6 million in the city proper and the rest live in the countryside that surrounds the city. in our operations we work closely with the general and the iraqi baghdad operations command, he commands a much larger force than i do. has about what hundred 50,000 people in all of a six complete iraqi divisions. and for the iraqis about a third of them are in the army and another third and the various kinds of police and the rest of
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the sons of iraq which are the local version of a neighborhood watch and are very important as sort of mother for research and to reconcile to our side. and as we looked at that since we assume our duties as far as i mentioned on the tenth of very this year 2009, we have been operating end of a security agreement between iraq and the united states. and all of our combat operations are in partnership with the iraqis so we do in a raid or patrol we are combined and the iraqis will hold any of those we need to detain. targeted individuals and to a raid have warrants issued by an iraqi judges and iraqi ports and both sides do some independent tasks like resupply air forces, local base protection patrols and things like that but we always share operations plans and we know what each other is up to. we have been working that way since we got here and given the iraqi numbers in and around baghdad that have always had a really big role.
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and as you know that rolled out a lot bigger on june 30th and on that day we formally turned over the lead for security in baghdad to general of food and iraqi forces. it now in this city with support general bruited but in the countryside around the city we work in partnership with the iraqis and their contained in a search out and attack enemy supply planes and hideouts. as provided in article four of that security agreement i mentioned earlier, iraqi forces in the city had asked for some help in doing their job, as for training in intelligence, route clearing, supply and medical assistance and we continue to provide that. we also protect our forces while carrying out those tasks in we help out protecting state department teams as they work on civil capacity as city. our members in this city are really a lot smaller than they used to be in the past and we
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use a lot of means to make sure that we get the job done while reducing our visibility's so we are not to analyze or frustration to the iraqi population. in this city bank said the and iraqis have the lead for security and we support. so without an accord to answer your questions. >> thank you for that overview and we will start to, go ahead. >> general, i am with associated press. wondering if you can talk a little bit more about the numbers of forces you still have and the city of baghdad, if any of them are staying in the s.t.o.p. is where the gcc or whatever situation you have there, forces were living in this city as opposed to victory or in the green zone and how long you expect that too go on? >> well, that is a great question. i will tell you are members in this city very alive every day depending on the particular mission.
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it is basically about one to 2% of the iraqi never so they have about 150,000 and you can do the math on that and it will very up and down depending on which particular task we're doing and as you correctly noted most of our facilities are outside the city in the bases and a joint security sites that surround the city. just to put in perspective at the height of the search of 2007 we had about 76 bases in the city and a large number of smaller gradual basis numbering and hundreds. right now the number of u.s. facilities you find in the city would be in the 10's, and i don't to give a specific number because obviously we don't want to disclose exactly where we're operating on a day to day for a lot of reasons hear it one of the challenges is reduced and the rest of that force protection something to take a look at because every time accretive force protection challenge the process and iraqis in the position of having to move for forces to the city and our goal is to move in the opposite direction and reduce the forces over time.
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>> did you expect the outposts in its hands as you describe to be operational standing upright. >> i think they're going to remain operational as long as we need them based on the mission, as you know we are going to have a signature edition change next august the commander-in-chief has given and wheat are the entire combat role even outside the city and will switch to advice and support system and brought the country. the we will do that assistance and i know by then they will and then will be a question of where does it make sense to do that task. is the best to address some outposts of the city, is a summer or not want to use occasionally and move out of and the biggest thing that will pay says there is what are arequipa interests wanting and at this -- way to do that because as you can imagine it is also a frustration not only to have u.s. soldiers in small numbers living in your city if you are an iraqi, is a challenge to have acidifying over in helicopters or try and armored trucks to get
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to and from the site so sometimes commuting can also be a restoration for the folks so we want to come up with the right balance at the group and write-downs for we have now and as we reduce with the directives going toward the december 2011 with a drawl, i think we will find that we will keep looking at our bases. i can tell you that we are looking right now all of them. i think there will probably be some more sites that will close or reduce in size. as we change our posture even over the next few months. what makes sense based on the situation and one of carter's new will be the driver. >> washington post. have to change your policy with regard to embedded reporters with u.s. army units inside baghdad in terms of going out on patrols as you try to keep the u.s. profile down? >> no, in fact, they embedded
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reporters to accompany on anything we're doing within the limits of their personal needs and safety and stuff like that. we will tell them where the risk is higher or lower but i mentioned that the forces we have in the city to force protection missions, they get resupply and got to burn with iraqi sometimes on training missions in the embedded reporter would be welcome to do that. again the only exception i give potential is is if we got into a hybrid situation just for the safety of the reporter we might ask to hang back while they sort something out, but essentially saying the usual. the oil difference with it numbers greatly reduced in the city i think what we would see is they're probably not that many opportunities to do seven the build up part of baghdad and out if you want to go with american units is better to and the countryside because there are more american news out there. >> we're happy to get in bed this and get them look around and talk to our folks and see with the men and women are up to and that includes the iraqis
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partnered with us here developers either own rules when the ministry of defense and interior but usually fairly forthcoming and especially the small unit level are usually willing to talk. >> general, stars and stripes, we are hearing reports and frustration among troops with some of the world changes. could you speak to what you are hearing from your guys and also what is you spoke about the cooperation level. i think we saw e-mail from you over the weekend touched on the issues of what the u.s. forces can and can't to this city. what is the cooperation level? are you getting pushed back from the iraqis? >> well, i think that's a great question that to ask is really been a challenge for us. it the 180,000 people inside the city of 6 million, obviously we reduce our never significantly but we're in and around there and you're obviously going to different interpretations of the 15 page document in english and
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arabic which is aside from some local and ranges we made in terms of orders and mission statements we've given our guys, that's what a lot of the iraqi people heard. and that document has 30 articles and all kinds of things in its. i'm sure some attorneys summer could make sense of all of its but we've got is folks on the ground trying to make sense carrying out their tasks. in addition and this was totally to be expected, a lot of the iraqi public media trumpeted what was an article 24 about leaving out of the city's. as i said there are 30 articles of agreement that could have also talked about article four that said some americans would be asked to say to help out. for a lot of reasons that just costs and again 15 page send having english and arabic and expects some confusion. most military operations i added degree of friction and this has had some pressure. i think each day that goes by we get better working together.
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the great thing we have helping us as we have been under the system essentially since one january so there were there hiccups in the beginning some iraqi guy saying wiring americans in the city, we heard an ounce when you're leaving, other cases where iraqis came to us and said we need to to do this, operation had to tell them we're in a supporting role now and if you leave it can help with a sense not those things and it took a while. it's been my experience whenever you're are turning a big operation like baghdad or the bad data of his command in the iraqi side is calling to be some friction and pick out. one thing i would like to point out is and this is pretty well been seen, there has not been a lot of confrontation and are pushing or shoving or silly stuff in baghdad here and there have been some scenes where americans and iraqi commanders have to come at of the vehicles and walk up and figure out what is going on but we have that at the earlier parts of the war as well and what is a function of not speaking the same language.
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the one great thing i can say is, the general all the way down to our iraqi private san archivist, italy no partnership is the name of the game in the city and again as i mentioned as you do the math. we have such a small percentage of the uniformed people in this city right now. we have to partner is one of work with the iraqis as we do south so i think in a lot of ways and has built on what we've done up until now and build on years of work. and as by those initial frustrations i think it seems to be going pretty well. the other thing out point out which is equally important is the security situation in baghdad also remains pretty stable. some people were worried that if we pulled our major combat forces out we might have a big ups spike in violence, there is really bad guys out there and there's been unfortunate incidents and there has been nothing like a sustained the violent impact by al qaeda or militant groups with five against. that really reflects the fact that i think the iraqis were
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ready for this move in that they have grabbed the ball. i . to the religious march that they had that was centered in baghdad on the shrine at recognizing the seventh iman and that just happened of the last few days. the iraqi security forces and all that on their own and we give the most minor support to imagine and did a great job and generally kept the city safe and got all the pilgrims in and out. that work pretty well so i think that is the way of the future especially the city supporting and taking lead and then next august will be that way all of the country. >> general, this is gordie from nbc news, you mentioned the security situation is relatively stable. can you quantify that in any way and give an idea of how many attacks you are seeing now versus when you first arrived? how many offensive and operations in the u.s. soldiers are supporting versus logistical
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support to? >> sure, basically what i would tell u.s. first-time about enemy activity, when we got here the enemy was averaging about four attacks a day in that number has stayed pretty stable and sound is of little and some days down. there was a drop after the 30th of june where ran about 23 attacks today and it has picked up a little bit lately. the bad guys we find especially al qaeda, their combat type organizations other have to go through a planning and preparation cycle. i don't know exactly what is going to there has been another had to adjust after 30 june and try to figure out what was going on. you all know from a falling this that we certainly have an upswing which we expected right before the 30 of the some of the groups want to get credit for driving the americans out of the city which was kind of strange says we told them we were living and didn't make any secret of that. so there was any -- now we are settling back to about 45
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attacks a day and obviously we want to shut that down further and are working to do that. as far as family operations, we have really done a little bit of a shift their and star that in june. as i mentioned more american combat forces are in the countryside and the bad guys is where they had all their weapons and ammunition is and where they go to plan their attacks. so now you've got more of us out there looking around the iraqi forces out there. fess started putting pressure on them in june but i think we have seen their planning cycle was in as good and one of the first half of july has been quieter and i think we can keep the pressure up. we can drive the numbers down further. as far as you -- as far as in the city a lot less troops a lot less forces, automatically less of us there is less brittles and operations but because we did not decrease the overall number of soldiers or airmen and marines in baghdad, it is more like in the outer ring of adonis and relieve their iraqis in the inner ring with those advisers and his sisters so that is
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weighted look so if you look at our numbers unc and i know you see a lot more activity particularly in june in the countryside trying to drop the hammer on their hideouts in their supply-side's. now more steady state operations iraqis laid the city and as partnering on the countryside to go after the networks and hideouts. >> general, large eggs from ap again, can you talk about your relationship with the l.i. in it i remember in april where sometimes the spring there was friction between the u.s. forces and i sf and there was one as i recall your soldiers went into a home on a raid and there was some concerns as i recall about some soi going into the insurgency are becoming bad guys again because of some of the
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raids. can you talk about the status of that relationship is now? >> yes i sure will. i hope you heard when i gave it a good discussion of our iraqi partner for says the soi, sons of iraq, reconcile the insurgents who have come over to support the government and work with us, they account for a third of the fighting strength of the iraqi forces that protect the people of baghdad and we see them as intimate part of our team and as much as me talking, the general who is my iraqi counterpart refers to them truly as his sons, not just those of iraq but his sons. he said he'd use them with his old soldiers and police and has been doing that. which refers to is a godsend terms of getting them paid and getting them on to the iraqi payroll. the i read it -- to the pay for those folks until last october. iraqi government took it over and the government of iraq fiscal year runs in accord with the calendar year, the u.s.
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starts on one october. there starts on one january and they have planned this fiscal year when oil prices or running at $150 a barrel and as you know those prices are not there anymore. so i just the son of iraq program but every program the arab governments sponsored including defense, police, agriculture and to do serious looking at him there was a little bit of bureaucratic confusion about getting the sons of iraq paid. in addition to the other thing to remember about the sons of iraq, they reconcile the insurgents by some of them are basically professional criminals and terrorists and they started to slide to their old ways. the guy you are referring to we went in at the end of march in east baghdad, he had basically taken over them up like a member of organized crime syndicate. and he was taxing the people for his gains, grabbed a clinic we have built and turned into a headquarters, doing some pretty awful things to people in terms
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of injuries and deaths and things like that, his contact activity so there are new ones worn out against him and the iraqi government got him with their emergency response brigade and with our special ops helping out. then we help clean the mess up your it is worth noting in that particular engagement although unfortunately there were some people killed about 12 of the former soi, the vast number came right out, got on the government side and said they wanted nothing to do this guy. and that has been the pattern by and large but i think the one warning you've got to realize is a son of iraq by definition is a former insurgents and just given human nature if you've got about 40 to 50,000 of them there's going to makeable that will just back the other way and we have seen some of that. the government is committed to pay then and happy to report they are having a job placement you're getting ready to pilot an putin meeting on thursday with the general and civilian
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officials on the iraqi government will we will start sketching out how that will start and i expect that will pick up in the next month or so. as a know the prime minister of the wreck is coming to d.c. this week prime minister -- prime minister maliki has been a reconcile to this and hazmat of the sons of iraq and committed to getting this thing right because clearly that is the way we want to sell this, you on these folks to be part of the new iraq not to drift back in the insurgency so we are watching closely not only us but our right iraqi counterparts. >> as you look at the units that are going to replace him in baghdad, have you determined whether mix of those units need to look like? do they need to be heavier is still great officers in an ceos to do more partnering work or do they need to look more like a regular brigade? >> absolutely, gregg question and, in fact, if you look at the recent announcement from the department of defense forces coming behind us, you'll see
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that several of the army units are designated as advisory and a sister gays and will have exactly what you describe, they will have additional officers, and specifically focused on the partnership for all that you have described and remember it by the time to get to next august's only about a year from now all the u.s. forces that are in iraq are probably in that mode and so again this is a way of the future. as soon as come into us among those reported, they will be in that organization and i will tell you we are not waiting until then to make -- shift. our forces in this city are in that advisement -- advise and assist role and we're learning stuff we need to do, how you organize and get around, how you work with your partner so we're sharing that right now and, in fact, have a team with some units coming to replace us that is right now in germany working with them and will send the other guy's back to the states to share the practices and then obviously use formats like video teleconference and all that to make sure that we keep
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up-to-date as possible on the south. you're right on target, there is going to be an adjustment to what we bring in. the one thing out mention in this was in the department of defense announcement and make sure we understand is in the u.s. forces that will come here will have the capability to protect themselves so it is not as if we're saying we come in on arms we would not do that, the iraqis don't expect them to do that and an article for gives us the full authority to defend ourselves. you've got to have them because of fortunately even with great iraqi prisoners sometimes the can happen for you have to protect yourself and there is still a dangerous enemy out here so we will come and ready but much more focus on the advices this as new forces come in. a great question. >> on the strain on the army, since there aren't a lot of field officers out there and that's why you reduce the strain on a junior enlisted in, you kind of keep the up-tempo fairly high for a these majors and lieutenant colonels and things like that?
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>> well, that is a legitimate concern. s.a. that as a guy like many people here on his second tour, many on the third and some on their fourth, and that is definitely a challenge for an army with our strength. i know you have seen some of the thoughts and recommendations about possibly expanding the size of the army this year to give us some more space to take care of things like that of the points she made is a good one. you can grow a major overnight, we got we got and so we've got to look at was the smartest way to do that. i would say that we are right now in this part and i reckon a critical phase if we want to consolidate the hard work in the sacrifice made by the close of the coalition side in the iraqi side. so we will probably have to ask for sacrifice of the next year until we get over this time but just the fact we will reduce down by next summer to a residual force of about 50,000 or so will remove some of that pressure and, of course, we have
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to realize we haven't yet seen the full requirements of a the afghan campaign although starting to get a pitcher with that may look like answer me for a lot of us that aren't coming back we might have to go over there and continue the mission there. but you are right to look at that i think the army as a whole is taking a hard look as strains on the force and do they can to reduce them. for the near term and lease for us and the next year i think you're right, there are field grade officers definitely that will have to do one more iteration before we get out of the high operational tempo and that is just going to be the way it is. we've got to be smart in the army as to how we take care of them and their families and set up for the long term. >> general, abc news. when you talk about the residual force next august, how do you characterize how they will be
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arranged in iraq? hermosa obey inside baghdad in? because of logistics, is that or the operations are or will it be spread out across the country? can you characterize where we will see most of these forces? >> yes, great question and. is actually a good question for general odierno and general petraeus because right now they're looking at a variety of options. the great thing about military guys, we can crank out a lot of plans so as you probably have i've seen all kinds of options propose ranging from from spread out in the countryside is sort of during training out in ranges of facilities, just outside the city is to assist with counterinsurgency type training or tasks, moved out to the borders to help with more conventional missions in terms of national army prepared to defend against potential invasion from some unfriendly country, we've seen those different versions. about the only thing i know right now is those decisions will be pretty import once made over the next few months and i think they will consider exactly the kind of range of options we
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have been talking about here. i wouldn't be surprised if one size does not fit all. iraq has been different parts with different things going on ever since we dealt with the folks over here. so you may see a combination of those in the one thing i can assure you is definitely will look at the options and working with the iraqis to pick the one that best suits the mission as it involves next summer. >> general, stars and stripes again. i wonder if you could speak more about the shifting role with more focus on the countryside and some not family -- ism that resulting in fewer responsibilities but fewer missions, may be shorter commissions for guys outside the bases outside the wire or are you seeing guys who essentially have less to do now with a shifting role? >> actually i spent about 56 days a week out with our small
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units on operations and i can tell you to me i can tell the difference. where in a different environment, not in the streets of baghdad but we seem to be out about the same amount of hours to the same tasks. the nature of the countryside by demolition is farther between the people so we have protected the population and the village to village of looking around in canal beds and in farm fields for stuff. you've got to be out there poking around and we're doing that. so i think the tempo of operations has changed and especially in the countryside a little more active, a city of this and more of a supporting role, but i would think over all people would be doing the same and one really positive thing i think we should all keep in mind is compared to be my last rotation or serving last rotation first calvary division during the search, the enemy activity pattern is very low partially because there are no longer in a fight and have been
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treated out or whatever the case may be. the great thing is a lot have come over s sons of iraq and are fighting is any more but the bottom line is they are moving from the battlefield the last of we have to do and more missions turned out to be operations to just look for things worse is finding things infighting them. frankly for as we are happy to keep looking and if we have to fight we will but looking a voice means a fight whenever you can have a choice. ..
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the general bolger thank you for your time and we hope and a couple of months we can do this again with you. >> okay, i look forward to it. thank you. >> the senate is in recess for party lunches until 2:15 eastern time. senators have been debating defense department programs and policy for the new budget year. the senate voted 58-40 district funds for additional f-22 fighter jets. this afternoon they turn to another amendment, a proposal to allow people with concealed weapons permits in one state to carry their weapons into another state as long as that other state allows concealed weapons.
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i vote on the gun measure is expected tomorrow. less tweet senators added hate crime legislation to the defense programs bill. live coverage when the senate returns at 2:15 here on c-span2. today's white house briefing with press secretary robert gibbs unschedules 41:45:00 p.m. eastern and we hope to have that for you live on c-span2 but in the meantime the u.s. ambassador to iraq from today's washington journal. >> joining us now with the u.s. ambassador to iraq, christopher hill. you just returned from iraq. give us an update on what the situation is there in who you have been meeting with. >> guest: first of all we have had quite an important month because the june 30 of state has come and gone and that is the date where remaining u.s. forces are out of the iraqi cities. now, it is important to understand our forces have been out of most of the iraqi cities now for several months but the last couple of cities that is baghdad and mosul, mosul being
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in the north, these are critical cities and i think this milestone, milestone in our security agreement with iraq is a very important one and so far it has gone well. it has not gone perfectly and to be sure there is then some uptick in violence, but i think the iraqis forces are holding their own and i think the iraqi people are very pleased to see this milestone reached, so now we are kind of moving on to some political developments and that is what is i think taking up our time right now, including the visit of prime minister maliki to washington starting today. >> host: a recent piece in the "wall street journal" comes from today. u.s. troops complain of limits in iraq and it talks about how things have changed since the july 1st deadline for the tensions are rising between u.s. and iraqi governments over baghdad's bush to restrict military operations in iraq with some u.s. offices complaining force is being constrained beyond what is called for in their agreement to withdraw from cities. are you hearing that?
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>> guest: we are hearing that. frankly it is not a majority view. it is not a problem across the board but there's no question these sorts of things happen and what you try to do a substance to deal with them. for example we have a joint iraqi u.s. operation center and we try to have transparency where, when we see a problem the iraqis would look of the problem and we hope to see it in the same way. it is not to say we are not going to have issues like the one you describe but i think we have the means to deal with them. i want to make one other point which is under the security agreement and by the way this whole business of being out of the city's depends on the security agreement reached with the bush administration at the end of last year, quoting the security agreement the united states forces absolutely have the right of self-defense, so i don't think anyone should be under the impression that somehow forces are not able to respond to provocations against them. >> host: let's talk more about what exactly those assessment as far as the everyday operations.
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there been a couple of incidents reported were the american forces suggested perhaps doing an investigation or the iraqi troops said no, we are going to take the lead on that. how is that actually pulling out into you have concerns about putting troops in greater risk for them not being able to keep up with the patrols and guard the american bases? >> guest: we have worked a lot with the iraqi forces. we have tried to train them in every respect and we try to train them in our doctrine, to look at things the same way we do. do they always do that? probably not, so there will be some differences of opinion between the iraqis in the u.s. on how to respond to a certain situation and i think that is what some of these reports are. but, want to emphasize these isolated reports are not what it is all about. what is all about is our taking our patrols out of the cities and those are being replaced by
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iraqis. one thing the iraqis do that we don't necessarily do is when they move into an area they set up additional checkpoints and there is a body of opinion that says if you set up another checkpoint were essentially setting up another target for someone to hurl a grenade at the checkpoint. our forces prefer so-called aggressive patrolling where we go into a neighborhood, try to clear it and try to go after these bad guys and in so doing sort of keep them off-balance, said the iraqis have a somewhat different approach. they set up more checkpoints. i suspect they will be moderating or adjusting that approach and what is important as we are alongside with them, working very closely with them. i think you have to realize this is a very tough security environment and we are not going to solve all of these problems overnight. taking u.s. patrols out of the main cities and by the way, when an iraqi citizen sees the u.s. patrol in these mrap costs that are three stories high, whole
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said the issue of military patrolling in the cities is kind of frightening to iraqis, so they would like to see less of it and that is why they are very much supportive of the security agreement. >> host: you mention this is happening in the cities, not in the countryside, the rural areas. what is happening in a more rural areas for ricci a similar policy enacted there as well? >> guest: i think what we are seeing is milestones along the way to withdraw of u.s. forces from iraq and that is why this year is so critical. i realize anyone who has ever talked about iraq is talked about a critical year, but this is the year were in addition to getting our forces out of their remaining cities as we have just done, we are also going to be reducing the overall number of forces. we have some 120, 130,000 forces in iraq today and the plan is, and we are going to follow this plan, by august of next year,
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just 13 months from now, we will be down between 35 and 50,000 forces so they will be entirely in a training role. that is that will be out doing combat operations as our forces are doing today. so there will be a big change in this all leads to the end of 2011 when all of our forces will be out of iraq. so, what we need to do in this process of drawing down forces is to make sure that we are standing up on the civilian side, our embassy is up and running, we are engaging the iraqis to route and that is what we are trying to do. change the face of america from that of the military plan to a civilian one. >> host: let's take our first call for our guest, ambassador hill. we have julio calling from bronx, new york. >> caller: hello, good morning. >> host: good morning, good morning. >> caller: hi, i just wanted to say that during the vietnam war, there was a canadian aid
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that's why johnson would not end this war and johnson told him flat out, all of my friends are making money. they say that man is cruel and ruthless but meanwhile-- killed a million people and destroyed the country. they don't even know about shock and awe. we need to get out of the business of empowering. if we are going to afford health care, we need to get rid of the business of empire. >> host: ambassador hill do you have any comments on perhaps the legacy that has been left by the prior adminstration? do you come as you have come into this new position, how much do you look back at the history and what has happened in the past is to go forward with these new policies? >> guest: let me just say, diplomats tend to look forward and historians tend to look backwards, so i am of the mode of really trying to look
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forward. look, there are going to be a lot of opinions and they are going to be a lot of books written about this whole issue of how the u.s. got into iraq, what was their motivation, etc. brinkley i have a lot of personal views on it but i think what is important is here we are and here is the task ahead of us to try to get our troops back and what is important is, we don't want a situation where our troops come back from iraq and iraq is somehow perceived as being in chaos. we want to leave behind stability in iraq. it has not been easy. i don't think anyone foresaw how difficult it would be yet i think we are making progress as the june 30th date suggests. i think the fact that we have and the iraqi government, an iraqi prime minister coming to washington this week discussing this and things that we have discussed with any other country, with any other country's prime minister i think it's a good sign. we want to have a normal relationship with iraq. the other day i had a group of iraqi academics in the u.s. to
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study something in the rubric, something called the fulbright program. there were 25 of these kids going off to the u.s. to study computer science and things like that. it was really very moving that they understood that they are going to be the face of iraq for the americans and inviting them into my home and in a meeting with them i am guided past recipients of u.s. grants, including a woman who was the first in 1952, she went to columbia university. we need to get back to having a normal relationship with iraq and these educational exchanges and other things. that is why it is so critical that we drawdown the u.s. military and switch over to civilian presence there. >> host: our next caller is from easton, pennsylvania on the republicans line. michael joins us. >> caller: hi, good morning. i would like to make a couple of comments and have the esteemed gentleman response to my
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observations about the middle east. when president bush went into iraq, the very unpopular attack, but it is something that had to be done whether it was the right front or the wrong friends to start at. we have to start somewhere. that we would respond to international tyranny. we were not going to lay down. and, i would like to see some more continuity between administrations so that we don't leave the afghanistan people flat, like we did. the focus of no nukes in iraq, we had the residents of all the chemical and bio-warfare-- if it kills, it kills. the rationale of the near east,
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where the attack against the united states that we have no stomach for prolonged war, which goes back to chairman mao, has been adopted by the regime's over there, whether communist or radical islam. >> host: do you have any comments ambassadors hill? >> guest: well, let me say with respect to continuity, what i have been talking about is implementing something called a security agreement and what i have also been talking about is implementing something called a strategic framework agreement that is the framework agreement under which we have things like educational exchanges. both of these agreements were reached in the last months of the bush administration, we hear-- pure we are in the obama administration tried to implement these things. i would say there is a lot of continuity. i know americans to differ sharply about the issue of going into iraq. the caller i think it's much
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more positive about it than many other americans are. certainly, i don't think any american, whether you believed in the invasion or not, i don't think any american is enthusiastic about saddam hussein, who was truly a catastrophe for iraq. so, having lived there now, having seen what saddam hussein did to that country, i realized these have been a tough six years. believe me, they have been a tough six years for everybody but it was a tough couple of decades with saddam hussein there. so, we are doing our best to first of all get our troops home and home with a sense of accomplishment that they so deserve. the caller mentions the idea that totalitarian states some now are prepared to outlast the americans. well, not to many countries would hang in there for six years into it in the robust spirit that we have done it and
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particularly our troops. i mean, to watch how our forces have handled these situations, to watch how second lieutenant steele with issues out there, whether it is anbar province or some place like nasr rea. it is really quite inspiring to americans. we do have a certain, i would call it a positive stubbornness. we are not willing to give then so easily, so i would like to assure our caller that there is a lot of continuity but of course you want to put your historian hat on and look at the reasons for going into this i think they are going to be a lot of differences, but i am looking forward on this and seeing what we can do to make this turned out well. >> host: the u.s. ambassador to iraq, christopher hill, is our guest. i wanted to look in an article from in "new york times" today. hill ten and arrested by iraqi cities and it says five iraqi
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police officers and three civilians were shot dead in a series of seven attacks by gunmen on monday in the restive northern city of mosul and car bomb near the headquarters of the provincial government in the western city of ramadi killed two policemen. it then goes on to note that american soldiers who have normally been involved in operations largely left the center of mosul and are now in a large base on the city's outskirts according to terms of the security agreement between iraq and the united states. how do you u.s. forces deal with this kind of violence now? are we really relying more on the diplomacy and the interaction rather than the troops, the troop strength because of this new agreement? >> guest: people who hurled bombs set civilians or the sort of thing, they are not that interested in diplomacy quite frankly. but the question is, what with the u.s. troops do that the iraqi troops are not doing? earlier i mentioned the u.s. troops have a much more dynamic
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concept of patrolling a city. they make sure that the terrorists, and by the way that is the right word for them, they are terrorists. to make sure they are not comfortable in any part of the city. they don't give them any sanctuaries so they go around doing very aggressive patrolling. as you know, sometimes that has caused problems for the iraqi citizens but overall the idea of aggressive patrolling is to keep these terrorists off balance. the iraqi army understand that concept but so far what they prefer to do is set up additional checkpoints so that no one can bring weapons into the city's. that sort of thing. but, static checkpoints can also cause casualties, so i think the iraqis will look at some of these tactics and decide they need to do more patrolling, let's check points. they have to make the decision about how to handle some of these things. but i want to emphasize that what these terrorists are really
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trying to do by killing civilians or killing the iraqis forces is basically to say look, the iraqi forces can handle it. people need to form up in their own militias and when you get that development of militias, and that is what was so dangerous a couple of years ago, you start getting some private armies better outside of the control of over all the iraqi security forces, and then you get the potential for the restart of sectarian war. so, so far that is not happening. even though these attacks on civilians and the sunni area, what they are hoping is the sunni area will go and hit a shiite area and before you know what everyone is formed the militia. that is not happening. i think people really want to get on with their lives and so, our task is to work with the iraqi forces, help them manage their security within the city's if they want to discuss tactics.
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we can discuss new tactics. but our task is to do that. sooner or later the iraqi forces are going to have to do it and it was our judgment in the judgment of the iraqi government said june 30 it was the day in which u.s. forces should be out of the city and we are going to make that work. >> host: our guests, ambassadors christopher hill, has served as assistant secretary of state for east asian and pacific affairs and as part of that a lead negotiator at the six-party talks on the north korea nuclear issue. ronnettes caller is jackie on the democrats line from palm coast, florida. good morning jackie. jackie, do we have you with us? let's move on to maria on the independent line calling from washington dc. good morning. >> caller: good morning. my comments as questions about it. afghanistan is what caused 9/11.
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they ended completely the leader-- then we are going to iraq, and then we completely killed the leader of that country, the way they did it was completely horrible to me. killing is not a thing that we should keep doing. all of these soldiers right now that have no limbs. it is really a horrible, horrible thing. the money they are spending on this war to me is completely. we need to leave there. we just completely, the sunni and shia are completely unstable because we came in. we cannot keep on policing.
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>> host: do you have comments for our caller? >> guest: i think the caller is making the case for a drawdown and but, what our president, president obama, once to see is a responsible drawdown where as we withdraw the iraqi forces stand up, and manage the security tough as it is and tough as the transition will be, and that we turned the u.s. presence in iraq from a military presence into a civilian presence, so indeed we are, we are withdrawing our military but we are doing it in a way that we leave stability behind and don't create the conditions for further bloodshed. i am understand the frustrations of the caller expressed for many americans to feel this way. and, for good reason. but, i think the task we have at hand is how to make this work now, how to get our forces back and keep iraq in a stable and
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developing mode and that is what we are doing. >> host: on the republicans line from kingston, new york we have marjorie colligan. >> caller: hello. thank you very much mr. hill. i don't know who appointed you. can you hear me? i find you very interesting to listen to. my eighth thing about what is going on in afghanistan is, if i wanted to be conspiratorial, it seems that all of our fighting soldiers, when the obama's that they were coming home, he is sending them back over there and the way people are taking sides, it is as if we were not speaking the same language. common sense is not ruling here between the republicans and the democrats. either obama receives-- he is the savior or the devil. it sounds to me very much like germany in 1939 and also
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remember in the bible, when moses came down in the people were turned to babylon. the first thing god did to them was confound their language so that they could not communicate. i get goose bumps sometimes thinking about what could be happening. i would love to hear what you have to say. >> guest: first of all i have my hands full with the shiites and sunnis and kurds, so i am not going to take on republicans and democrats in addition to all of that. you know, again these have been really tough, tough situations. it has been very difficult but as i said to the previous caller, i think we have an approach that i think does enjoy some bilateral, or bipartisan support. so, i think that is what we are trying to do, to try to get our forces out of iraq and leave behind stability and leave behind a civilian presence, so that is what we are doing.
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as for babylon, let me just say that is smack dab in the middle of iraq, and when i went to see one of our provincial reconstruction teams and central iraq, that is south of baghdad, and i saw how our guys and gals really are engaging with local politicians and at the provincial level and working on various development projects and really beginning a process of standing up a civilian presence, i did take a couple of hours to go over and see the ruins of babylon. it does kind of take your breath away. this is the place where the tower of babylon was. this is the place of the babylon captivity. this is where alexander the great spent his last days, so it really is amazing situation to go through i rabkin see some of these extraordinary sights. they are of course about iraq history but really about world
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history and to go down to nasr rhea and see the ancient city, where so many were abraham lived and where so much of our western civilization comes, so what we would like to do is to do our best to make sure that iraq is a stable, secure place and maybe we will get to risk to be able to go and see places like that. >> host: am bester hill you have mentioned some of the gypsy have taken. how you feel about your own safety? there were concerns about an alleged attack. how is that going for you right now? >> guest: there are these roadside bombs, these improvised explosive devices, ied's as they are called. often people plant them under a short notice. they are activated with a cell phone or something like that. that is obviously very worrisome but on the other hand, we have really extraordinarily talented
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security people working for us, from the state department because they follow some of dairy tried and true, tested means of handling these risks and so i think overall it is a question of managing risk. we can't eliminate risk. it is always there but we manage it such that we can get our jobs done and so, what i think it's very important is that even though these bad things happen we are able to continue to engage the iraqi people and get out of the so-called green zone, which by the way is not really corrine i must say. and baghdad, to get out to the rest of the country. >> host: on the independent line our next call is brandan from fayetteville, arkansas. >> caller: mr. hill he stated earlier that you like looking forward instead of backward. i think that is a good policy. i think it causes a lot of stagnation in the area. i would like to ask what tools do you think our government can
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use to ensure that the natural resource, the oil, is used to benefit the nation as a whole and possibly make our come and make our parents and presence there end up in a better light than it has then and therefore benefiting the iraqi people? thank you. >> guest: let me just say oil is obviously not only very important, i would say it is essential to the iraqi economy. it is all built around the oil and yet interestingly, for decades and decades the iraqis have not had international companies come in and explorer-- exploit the oil, bring it out of the ground marketed so the iraqis have done that themselves then frankly i think they could do a lot more with the oil resources than they have. part of the problem is that iraq has been beset by isolationist tendencies. there was saddam hussein who wanted to make everyone in iraq
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not only fearful of each other but fearful of the outside world. obviously, that is the game of these terrorists were trying to isolate iraq and make sure no foreigner visits but there's also a sort of an old-line notion that iraq somehow needs to be insular, needs to be kept away from foreigners and foreigners need to be kept away from my rack so, what was very significant a few weeks ago was for the first time in many decades, the iraqis put out a bid, forbid some oilfields. the first winner of one of these bids was a british company that is british petroleum which had a chinese partner. if they are able to exploit this field, as they hope they can. it is an oil-field down in the southern part of iraq and if they are able to exploit that, there's the prospect of just for that one field alone doubling the iraqi oil production and giving the iraq government a lot
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of the revenue that it really needs to rebuild the country. so, we very much support this process and we worked very closely with the iraqis on this but of course the reason, our reason for being there is not to take their oil. our reason for being there is to help them develop their economy and to do that they need to have a prudent but more vigorous efforts at developing their oil resources. so, that is underway. i think it's very encouraging that the process has started. i think it has been politically accepted an iraq that they need to invite foreign oil companies and frankly i hope we will get some american companies in there, even though the first is the british and the chinese. >> host: the iraqis for the minister will be meeting with ban ki-moon and then of course meeting with president obama tomorrow. how significant is this is it? it is his first trip since 2006? >> guest: alaa this change
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since 2006 and certainly a lot is change for prime minister maliki so remember in 2006 when he first came in there with this concern he was too weak a leader, too weak to be able to run this kind of tough country, and now to the extent he has critics about his leadership, they say he is too tough a leader. so, it is a very different circumstance. iraq is changed dramatically in terms of its security now. every day "the new york times" article suggests, it every day there is hideous tragedy's of people killing other people but if you compare that to win prime minister maliki came last time, it is by far, far, far less than that was the one thing that he will be doing this time is to be talking about things that are not necessarily directly on security but rather things about our civilian relationship. he will be having some extensive talks with secretary clinton about this framework agreement.
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we are going to look across the board and see what we can do to boost their economic ties, our cultural ties, our educational ties, scientific, agricultural, a lot of things our country can do with iraq and things that i think are of mutual interest. iraq is a very large country. we are talking upwards of 30 million people. if you look at a map of the middle east it is not over there to the side. is right there in the center. i think iraq is of interest to us and i think having a prime minister talking about a broad number of issues rather than just security of kind of the direction we would like to be in. >> host: let's get one last. >> believe this portion of washington journal to take you to the white house and today's breathing. we will cover part of it until the senate returns it to:15. >> president obama will address the opening session of the u.s.-china economic dialogue on monday, july 27. secretary clinton in secretary geithner will chair the dialogue
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with chinese vice premier state council it. fresen obamaland president hu launch this dialog during their meeting in london as a way of strengthening relationships between the two countries so that will be on monday. >> with that, mr. feller. >> thanks robert. went to ask you about some of the president's rhetoric on health care. we heard him talk again today about and we have heard excuses for, and defeat in labor reform and also those who are trying to-- the seats at the premise that there are some republicans who are not trying to defeat and reform but are genuinely opposed to the policies that are being proposed on capitol hill? >> well, i think that would split republicans up as best as i can understand it, in a few different baskets. you have republicans that are working with democrats,
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particularly those on the finance committee to work through different proposals. i do think there are republicans that are philosophically opposed to some level of health care reform, and then i think you saw during, as we discussed yesterday at think there are some republicans that have decided that this isn't about health care. it is about politics and it is about scoring political points and about perpetuating the political gains that have dominated washington far longer than even the debates on health care reform. that is how i would roughly split that up. >> but is there any concern? that is sometimes a different level of detail that the lease comes up in cases like in the rose garden. is there concern that the americans watching this, they hear the president they were pushing on behalf of the american people and their those who are trying to-- don't fall for that. >> there are people, i think they are people, i think you saw this yesterday.
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remember, i remind you what bill kristol said yesterday on "the weekly standard." resisting the temptation to act responsibly. i mean, i don't think that was to pitch an alternative policy. >> i understand the point but there also those who support the president on the hill, which might disagree with them. when they give speeches how is that not playing politics versus what he is doing? i guess i'm trying to find out that line there. >> there are some that oppose the bill. i think there's some that are working with democrats on a bipartisan basis. we covered this last week. despite the fact that there weren't republicans that supported the proposal that came out of the helped committee, for whatever reason. the help committee, chaired by senator dodd incorporated 160 of their ideas in the forms of different amendments into the legislation that was moved out
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of committee. i don't doubt that there's some that have philosophical differences. i also think there's some as we enumerated yesterday, that our intent on, that are intent on playing political games. i think i read something right before i came out here that i think eric cantor would necessarily have used the same words that mr. demint used. i think that this may be an admission that the message got a little off the rails about playing political games. yes, sir. >> robert come to questions. one on health care. democrats of the president for a delay and if so, what is he saying? secondly on the budget. >> i think there are some who webcast for different timetables in letters to and from capitol hill. his response is not different to democrats than it is the
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republicans about the fact that we can't afford to delay this, that we can afford to simply wait months and months or another year, add that to the other 40 years that we have waited for comprehensive reform that will actually cut costs. >> even a delay of a few weeks? >> again i think we are making products. that is what is the most important, and the president things we can continue to make progress in the next couple of weeks. >> and the question on the budget, peter orszag said yesterday about the mid-session review coming out in august that there wouldn't be any big surprises. does that mean or how should we interpret that in terms of the deficit figure? is the deficit figure as a projection going to go up or is it going to go down? >> as i said yesterday, we have seen the economy based on everybody's assumptions at the beginning of the year,
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deteriorative, particularly that last quarter of last year and the first quarter of this year, dietz seriate adi rate that i think a large number of people. i think it is likely that our budget challenges have become greater, not lesser. >> is the deficit figure going to rise? >> i have not, they don't let me end on the number crunching sessions. i have not seen the exact numbers but again my assumption is you have got employment which is higher, you have got tax revenue which by definition because of a lagging economy is going to be lower. i would assume again that the budget challenges have only become greater. >> the house energy and commerce committee cancelled a markup that is largely perceived is the reason is because of the blue dog democrats on the committee balking at some of the provisions in the bill and the blue dogs-- what is his
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intention, what he's intending to tell them? >> i think they are working through, and as you mentioned, they have delayed a marked up for a little bit of time to come down here and talk to some of the issues and concerns that they have about costs and things like that. they are going to meet with the president and maybe doing it probably right now. to work through some of the issues and concerns that they have and that, again, try to work toward meeting in an area where we can agree to move health care reform ford. >> as you know, one of the concerns they have is they don't want to vote for a provision that passes the house and the senate does something else, is less controversial. is the president on board with that? does he think the house and senate should have basically the same funding mechanism for this bill so that one side has to walk the plank?
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>> i don't know that will specifically, or has the certainly come up in today's meeting. i know that the president is encouraged, as you heard him in the rose garden say, in terms of the amount of progress we have made, that we are closer to health care reform that we have been in 40 or 50 years. i assume many of these issues, particularly cots, not just cost of health care but how to pay for it, will come up. i don't know if he believes both proposals should be identical but hopes we continue to make progress on both sides of capitol hill, so that we can get a bill closer. >> taji understand philosophically why the house would not want to-- >> absolutely. >> a question on the deadline. does the white house believe that if this august deadline were missed, that health care reform will not get done? >> i don't think that is the case. i think as the president
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enunciated pretty clearly yesterday, a lot does not tend to happen in this town without some poking in some prodding, which generally met this itself in deadlines. >> so, but again remember, this is part of the process. we are going to come back year after the august break and still have work to do on health care. >> so why do they have that deadline? >> i refer you to the first part that not a lot happens without the poking and prodding. remember, as i said this yesterday and i have said this before health care is not something that somebody came to washington about a couple of months ago and said, do you know what? i have been out of america and a lot of people are paying more for their health insurance each and every year. somebody says, wow i heard that zoo in the debate on health care. we have been doing this for years and years and decades and decades. this is not a new argument. >> the whole purpose of the deadline essentially is just to get them going?
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>> to move this process along. >> there is no expectation it would get done by that time? >> deadlines don't tend to be that good unless they are recognized as being something a point in time in which you would like to see something done. yes, sir. >> hi robert paygo is it fair to characterize that there is not a bill yet in need of the house or senate on health care that the president is ready to support? it seemed to indicate in one of the interviews testrake the. is that a fair characterization? >> i think if you look at, and part of this is based on where we are in the process. i think the president has laid out probably 15 or 16 different ideas that he would like to see a round cutting costs and health care, containing the skyrocketing cost the families and businesses pay each year. i am not entirely sure that when piece of legislation encompasses
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each and every one of those ideas quite yet, but believes that both the house and that is one of the things they will talk about in their meeting today is how do we contain costs, that part of that proposal and understand again, the growth of medicare and medicaid is under the jurisdiction of the finance committee so by definition, the help committee's legislation can't have a draft provisions in medicare and medicaid because they don't have jurisdiction over it. part of this is the process of a piece of legislation going through five committees into houses of congress, but i think the principles that he has laid out are pretty clear. >> it is incorrect to say he supports any of these bills? >> i think again, there aspects of each of these bills that meet his principles. i think if you want to know how he feels, again i think the letter he sent to congress about the principles he sees in health care is a good place to go.
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>> you said the eight public events the president spoke on health care in the last nine days. nine endless ten? i'm sorry, nine out of nine. two on thursday. >> golf does not count? >> you can talk about health care on the golf course. >> there probably was a conversation in the sand trap. >> in all seriousness to worry about the overexposure? at wellpoint t worry about this? >> i am laughing because i am going to have somebody work the suppa and i will give this answer to you today. the last time somebody asked me if we were doing too much and now we do something nine out of nine days and be wondering if we are focusing too much on one thing. >> but do you worry your words are not as persuasive?
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on the night event as opposed to the first event? >> some of that will depend. noaa again, i think what the president strongly believes then he will do this tomorrow, certainly ten out of ten of the press conference. i think it is important that the president continues to remind the american people what is at stake, what is in it for them, why the status quo is unacceptable and unaffordable and what must be done in terms of this issue to lay that foundation for long-term economic growth. i don't think he can probably say that enough. there are, as we have discussed, there are people out there that are opposed to this. their special-interest groups out there that are opposed to this. they are going to continue to make their arguments in the president's going to continue to make is. >> very quickly, could you promise to follow up on that's that? yesterday you said he would try to get the decision.
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>> ifas but i have not got anything back on that. >> neither have i. >> in his statement today and following up, he knows-- rosett the the republicans but it is the democrats that could be argued, is really the democrats here who were the barrier. you have got people like nelson, conrad and landrieu and others saying what's-- let's slow this thing down. yupp cac 40 blue dog democrats using their leverage both in the committee and the entire house. basically, saying it is not going to pass until we get what we want and you have that are in see, 12 of the 15 ads are in democratic districts always and his attention on the democrats? is that creating-- >> why isn't our attention-- >> what is the breathing in its entirety later in our program schedule. we leave now after the senate
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has returned after recessing for weekly party lunches. the resume work on defense department programs and policy for the new budget year. center jon kyl has the floor. senator mccain. like other members of this body, we've watched recent events unfold in iran with great concern. this year began with talk of wafrplg ties and potentially -- with warming ties and potentially reestablishing contact with iran, that we would no longer be afraid to talk to iran and perhaps reach some kinds of agreements. in recent months the iranian regime has continued its support of terrorism, its illegal nuclear weapons program and defiance of its n.p.t. obligations and it's engaged in violent and deadly repression of its own st*eus. while the administration -- of its own citizens. the president has indicated that the window for iran to negotiate
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and demonstrate progress toward complying with its international obligations is not open indefinitely. mr. president, i think that president obama was correct when he said iran obtaining a nuclear weapon would not only be a threat to israel and a threat to the united states, but would be profoundly destabilizing in the international community as a whole and could set off a nuclear arms race in the middle east that would be extraordinarily dangerous for all concerned, including for iran. end of quote. in may, the president indicated that iran would have until december to show meaningful improvement. more recently, french president nicolas sarkozy said on behalf of the g-8 nations that this will give iran until september 2009 to agree to negotiations with respect to its nuclear activities or face tougher sanctions. if negotiations do not prove fruitful, the united states must be ready to act quickly to increase pressure on iran to end its support for terrorist groups
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and its illegal nuclear program. the kyl-lieberman amendment expresses the sense of the senate that the president should sanction the iranian central bank if by december iran has not verifiably halted its yew uranim enrichment activities as well as compliance with the treaty and additional protocol. by sanctioning the central bank of iran, our nation would send the message that we will use all methods at our disposal to stop the threat of nuclear weapons and oppose sponsors of terror. a case against the iranian central bank is strong. it is knee-deep in its regime illicit activities. last year robert kennet revealed between 2001 and 2006 the bank had moved $50 billion from banks in london to hezbollah front organizations in beirut. hez pwhrarbgs of course, is a terrorist organization --
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hezbollah, of course, is a terrorist organization. it processes transactions for iranian banks that already face u.s. sanctions. the central bank of iran is instrumental in helping iranian banks, the very ones this body voted overwhelmingly to sanction in 2007 to avoid sanctions. in march 2008, the department of treasury's financial crimes enforcement network warned financial institutions about the i illicit behavior. here's what the advisory said. the central bank of iran requested their names be removed from global transactions in order to make it more difficult for intermediary financial institutions to determine the true parties in the transaction. they have also continued to provide financial services to iranian entities designated by the u.n. security council in its resolution 1737 and 1747. the u.s. department of treasury is particularly concerned that the central bank of iran may be
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facilitating transactions for sanctioned iranian banks. mr. president, under u.s. law institutions that aid are liable to penalties. the central bank's activities clearly warrant such action and sanctioning the bank would increase the effectiveness of existing measures. so i urge my colleagues to support our amendment at such time as we are able to get a vote on it. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. lieberman: i thank the chair. i thank the chair, and i lost my microphone. i'm glad to recover it. now i thank the chair, and i thank my friend from arizona, senator kyl, for his very strong statement. i rise to speak in support of his bipartisan amendment that i cosponsor along with senator kyl, senator bayh and senator mccain. mr. president, as you know, president obama has made an
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historic offer to iran's leaders, inviting them to engage in direct diplomacy to resolve the outstanding differences between our two countries. as the president has repeatedly said, the door is open for the iranians to come in out of the cold if they choose to do so. it is by suspending their illicit nuclear activities and ending their support for terrorism that the iranians have a clear path to ending their international isolation and taking their rightful place in the community of nations. unfortunately, as senator kyl said, it has now been more than three and a half months since president obama's formal offer of engagement, and there has been no reply -- no reply -- from the iranians. meanwhile, iran's illicit
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nuclear activities have continued to speed forward in violation of multiple u.n. security council resolutions. thousands of additional centrifuges are being installed in more and more fissile material is being stockpiled. at the same time iran's support for terrorist proxies in iraq, lebanon, and in the palestinian authority areas has continued. and, of course, over the past month we and the rest of the world have watched with horror as the iranian regime has engaged in a brutal crackdown against its own people who have sought no more than basic human rights. president obama, together with our international allies, has been very clear that we will not wait indefinitely for the iranians to respond to our offer of talks, nor will we enter into
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negotiations if that is the willingness of the iranians, that go on without end. two weeks ago at the annual g-8 summit, president obama made clear to the iranians that they have until the g-20 summit in pittsburgh at the end of september to return to the negotiating table or face the consequences. the amendment that senators kyl, bayh, mccain and i have put forward would place the full weight of the united states senate behind the time frame that the president and the g-8 have articulated. our amendment expresses our strong hope that iran seizes this historic opportunity for direct dialogue. we also make clear that if the iranians have failed to engage with us diplomatically by the time of that g-20 summit two months from now, it is our preference that multilateral
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sanctions be imposed through the united nations security council. however, the iranian government, the regime that controls the people of iran, must also understand that the united states is itself prepared to put in place what secretary of state clinton a while ago referred to as crippling sanctions in the event that they and tehran continue to flaunt the will of the international community. specifically, our amendment asks the president to impose sanctions on the central bank of iran and other banks involved in proliferation and terrorist activities if the iranians haven't entered into negotiations that are serious by that pittsburgh summit, or if they haven't suspended enrichment and reprocessing activities within 60 days of that summit. mr. president, the central bank
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of iran is the financial lifeline of that regime. it is an entity that our own treasury department says has engaged in deceptive financial practices and facilitated the efforts of other iranian banks that are involved in bankrolling, proliferation and terrorist activities to avoid international sanctions, and that have themselves been sanctioned by the u.n. and our treasury department as a result. i will say this, the idea of imposing sanctions on the iranian central bank is not new. it has already been endorsed by a bipartisan majority in this chamber. last year the senate banking committee under chairman dodd adopted bipartisan legislation by a vote of 19-2 that urged the president to immediately impose sanctions against the central bank. and also last year the house of representatives passed such legislation that urged immediate
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sanctions. more recently the legislation that senators bayh, kyl and i introduced this spring, the iran refine petroleum sanctions act, s. 908, also, in addition to other steps it takes, expresses the sense of the senate that the president should impose sanctions against the central bank of iran. i'm very grateful to report that s. 908, the iran refine petroleum sanctions act, now has 67 members of the united states senate, strong bipartisan group -- 67, two-thirds -- as cosponsors of that legislation, ranging all across the ideological spectrum of members of the senate and clearly making the point to iran and to the rest of the world that whatever other differences we have, we stand together here as a strong majority and beyond in the senate in our concern about the
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nuclear proliferation and terror-sponsoring activities of the iranian government. so you might say that if you're one of the 67 cosponsors of s. 908, which does more than this amendment does, but includes it, you've already spoken in favor by your cosponsorship of this amendment. this amendment, i want to point out and make clear, in no way ties the president's hand in his diplomacy with iran. that's not our intent. the amendment is about empowering the president, giving him additional leverage in his diplomacy, by endorsing the same timetable that came out of the g-8 summit a short while ago. and the fact is this -- i repeat -- the iranians must appreciate that there will be consequences if they respond to the international community's diplomatic initiatives.
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in other words, if they continue to speed their nuclear program forward. i think this amendment will send an unmistakable regime -- an unmistakable message to the fanatical regime in tehran in support of the g-8, in support of president obama. either you can engage with the united states and the world community and take steps to suspend your nuclear activities or you can continue on your current course in which case you will face the crippling sanctions this sense of the senate resolution calls for. i thank the chair and yield the floor. mr. mccain: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: mr. president, before my colleague, senator lieberman, leaves the floor, i'd like to thank him for this amendment. we're working right now to see if we can get the amendment pending and possibly a voice vote because it's clearly --
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it's clear it's a very important amendment and one that i think we need to express very strongly, this sense of the senate, given the situation as it exists in iran. so i want to thank senator lieberman. right now my understanding is that your side is checking to see if it's an agreeable amendment. so hopefully we will get that decision and move forward right away on a voice vote if that's agreeable to the senator from connecticut. mr. lieberman: mr. president, i thank my -- the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. lieberman: i thank my opinion friend from arizona. i'm encouraged by that. in talking to the other cosponsors, i think we'd be happy to have a voice vote on this. mr. mccain: mr. president, the amendment is straightforward. it expresses the sense of the senate that there should be a date certain and soon by which iran is required to show progress in ending its nuclear program or face severe sanctions. the amendment expresses that if
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the iranian regime has not accepted the u.s. offer of direct diplomatic talks by the time the g-20 summit in late september, or if it is t has not suspended nuclear enrichment and reprocessing activities within 60 days of the summit and if the u.n. security council does not adopt new significant and meaningful sanctions on the regime, the president should sanction the central bank of iran. the situation with respect to iran is nearing the crisis point if it is not there already. we have watched the brutal crackdown on the streets of tehran where there was imposed the results of a fraudulent election. we have been encouraged by the resolve of the iranian citizens who protested for their own inalienable rights. we know that while the dramatic events played itself, the iranian regime continued its enrichment of iranian growing closer to when it will have
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nuclear weapons capability. the iranian regime has gotten away with that for too long. that combined with the development of unconventional weapons an ballistic missiles support hezbollah and other terrorist groups and its repeated threats against israel and the united states represents a real and growing threat to the security of the united states and the middle east. it is in the interest of the united states and the world's other great powers to achieve an end to the iranian nuclear program. the administration has held out a -- quote -- "open hand making clear that it intends to open direct talks with iran. yet 3 1/2 months since the president's formal offer, the iranian government has made no response nor has it suspended its enrichment activities as required by the u.n. security council resolutions. time is not on the side of those pushing the iranians to seize these dangerous actions. the administration officials and others including the french president have stated that they
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will not wait intermably while the iranian nuclear program at the g-8 summit two weeks ago the assembled leaders agreed that the iranians do not have forever and they should return to the negotiating table by the time of the g-20 summit in september. this amendment puts the senate on record behind that time frame irrespective of any senator's view about the likelihood of agreement soon. make no mistake, we must not wait intermably. according to the i.aa recent report, iran has increased its stockpile of enriched uranium and brought the active centrifuges above 7,000. irans were -- inspectors were
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denied inspection of the reactor. as the secretary of state has recently articulated should iran continue to defy the international community, it must face severe sanctions. should the regime not take up the historic offer extended to it, this resolution advocates sanctions on the iranian central bank, the country's major connection to the international financial system. the u.s. treasury department has stated that the central bank has engaged in deceptive fraudulent financial practices and facilitated the movement of funds to those involved in proliferation and terrorist activities. this must end and, in fact, 67 senators have cosponsored legislation, the iran refine petroleum sanctions act that urges this president to sanction the central bank. by adopting this resolution, we will send an unmistakable message to the government of iran that its actions are unacceptable and will result in real and severe consequences if
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continued. the administration has offered to talk. the ball is in the iranian court. and if that regime continues down its destructive path, we have no choice but to impose crippling sanctions. i urge my colleagues to support this amendment. let me point out this amendment is a sense of the senate amendment -- an important sense of the senate. certainly i think allows the administration the latitude it needs to in handling its relations with iran. mr. president, i -- i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: thank you, mr.
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president. first, i would ask to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. ms. stabenow: in doing that, though, i do want to recognize the tremendous hard work that both the chair of the armed services committee and ranking members are doing. we're very proud of the chairman coming from michigan and all of his excellent work in standing up for the troops and this bill's another example of that and i'd like to congratulate him and the senator from arizona for working together on this very important bill. mr. president, i want to speak for a moment on health care. we are hearing a lot as we hear from colleagues -- many colleagues, not everyone, but many colleagues on the other side of the aisle about the need to be against health care reform. to be a no. and we all know that saying no to health care reform means we're going to have the status quo. no equals the stato quo right
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now. and for too many families, too many businesses all across this country, that is absolutely not acceptable. now, the status quo works -- it's good for special interests making profits off the current system. but it's bad for american families, american small businesses, american manufacturers that are trying to patriot bill and trying to make sure -- to pay the bills and trying to make sure that shake available for their -- make sure health care is available for their employees. with all of its good parts and there are many strengths in the american system, but it is also broken in too many cases for people. so we want to build on what works and what's great and we want to fix what is broken. right now our current health care system is bank rutting too many families. -- bankrupting too many families. we know that over 60% of
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bankruptcies are linked to medical expenses. and 75% are families who file bankruptcy actually have health insurance. those who have insurance on average are putting out medical expenses of over $18,000 when they file even though they have an insurance policy. so there are many families -- we're not only talking about those who do not have health insurance, but those who do who fine themselves in very difficult situations. and i am constantly amazed when i hear the argument about, well, we can't do any kind of reform because reform means putting a bureaucrat between your doctor and yourself or you and your doctor can't make decisions about what you need for your health care. you know who stands between you and your doctor right now, mr. president? an insurance company. an insurance company bureaucrat. your doctor can't just give you whatever test they wish.
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you aren't able to get whatever care you need for your family. the first call they make is to the insurance company. -- company who decides. reform is about putting health care decisions back in the hands of doctors and patients and being able to create a system that actually works for people. that's what it's all about. mr. president, i set up an online health care people's lobby for those i represent in the state of michigan so that they could share their stories. we have a lot of folks lining the halls that represent all kinds of interests -- all kinds of special interests and they tell us what should be happening or not happening. but in michigan we have set up the health care people's lobby so people can share their stories. the real world operating under the current system. if the system worked today, there would be no reason for us to be here. we would be working on something
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else. but the fact of the matter is we are spending twice as much as health care as any other country, have 47 million people at any one time that don't have health insurance. those two numbers don't add up. and, on top of that, people who are currently covered are battling every day to try to get what they thought they were paying for or to make sure their family's covered or that test or procedure or medicine can be covered. one constituent of mine in michigan, sandra mazuski, wrote to me that she and her husband have been without insurance for seven months now. she writes -- you have no idea -- you have no idea the fear that i walk around with every day. mr. president, that's too many people in michigan. over one million people in michigan without insurance all together and millions more who are fearful every day that if they lose their job, their health care goes with it for
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themselves an their family. -- and their family. people are going to bed every night. they're putting the kids to bed and worrying about whether or not someone's going to get sick, saying a prayer, please, god, don't let the kids get sick. don't let me get sick. i have to go to work so we can still make sure that we have our health care. now, there are a lot of people, as i mentioned before that make a lot of money off of the status quo, off of the current system. and, no surprise, they don't want to change it. all the ads we see, all the things going on, all the scare tactics going on, and there are plenty of scare tactics going on right now. all of that is about trying to scare people and raise red flags, and it's really easy to just be no, no, no. we hear that all the time around here. people who are just saying no to any kind of progress or change or making things better for people.
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but the reality is that the status quo for a lot of folks means more profit and that's underlying a lot of the motivation that is going on right now. and our job is to make sure that the american people can afford health care and have the care that they need for their families. for too many families, the status quo means insecurity, expenses, and fear that come along with not knowing whether or not they're going to be able to afford the health care that they have from month to month and whether or not, in fact, they'll have health care. we're here because when it comes to health care, american families and businesses are in a serious crisis and they are asking us for action. status quo is not good enough anymore. it is not working. it's going to bankrupt families, businesses, and the country. high health care costs are causing cuts in benefits,
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increases in premiums, adding to the ranks of the uninsured at alarming rates. even those who have insurance, as i indicated before, are feeling the pain of the current system. every day in america families are forced to choose a different doctor because their health care plan was changed, because their employer can no longer afford the old plan that they had. skyrocketing health care costs make american businesses less competitive in the global economy. costs us jobs. and i can speak directly to that coming from the great state of michigan. every day in america families see their health care plan benefits eroding because they can't keep up with high premiums, copays and deductibles. every day in america people decide to skip a doctor visit and the medication and treatment they know they need because they can't afford the payment.
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in the greatest country in the world. because the expense is too high year after year as health care costs increase, american families are losing the very parts of their health care they value most, their choice of doctor, hospital, and insurance plans. their choice of treatments, the security and stability that comes from knowing that they're covered if anything goes wrong. that's what we are about fixing. that's what we will fix as we do health care reform. recently families u.s.a. found that the average cost of workplace rose 78% in seven years. 78%. during those years health insurance company profits ballooned 428%. at the same time wages went up about 15%. so wages go up 15%, health
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insurance profits go up 428% and premiums just keep rising for businesses and individuals. the fact is we can't wait to get started on reform. the status quo is not acceptable and no equals the status quo. so we're here working with colleagues to get it done. doing nothing is not acceptable. recently the nonpartisan robert woods johnson foundation released a report that projects that if federal reform efforts aren't enacted within 10 years, the cost of health care for businesses could double and the number of uninsured could rise to over 65 million people with middle-class families being hit the hardest. the report shows that if health care reform is not enacted,
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individuals and families would see health care costs dramatically increase, total individual and family spending on premiums and out-of-pocket costs could increase 68% in the next 10 years. i can't imagine. 68% out-of-pocket costs. that's if we do nothing. if we listen to those just saying no. even under the best case scenario, health care costs would likely increase according to the this report at least 46%. and i can tell you absolutely, mr. president, wages aren't going to go up 46%. business could see their health care costs double within ten years. the report found that employer spending on premiums would more than double, and even the best-case economic conditions, employer spending on health care will rise 72%. the result would likely be far
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fewer americans being able to be offered insurance or accepting employer-sponsored insurance. estimates suggest a drop of 56% of americans who are now covered by their employers, dropping from 56% to 49% in ten years. so there are many numbers -- there are numbers that relate to the public programs of medicaid and children's health insurance and the increased costs there as well and what will happen if we do nothing. the amount of uncompensated care in the health care system will increase in the worst case scenario, totals of uncompensated care could double. and, by the way, when we say "uncompensated care," it doesn't mean that somebody's not paying for it. that's why our premiums, if you have insurance, go up so much. it means that someone can't afford to see a doctor, can't
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take their children to the doctor so they don't get the tests on the front end they need or they don't see a doctor, they wait till they're really sick, then they go to the emergency room. they're served, as they should be, and it's the most expensive venue in which to do ongoing care for people. but they are served. and then guess what happens? everybody who has insurance sees their rates go up to pay for it. that's what it means when we say covering the uninsured will lower costs as we go out. i mean, it will take time to do this. but over time, what we are doing is working to change the way we pay for health care now because we pay for it in the most expensive way: by ignoring the problem, not focusing on health and wellness and primary care but waiting until people are in the worst possible situations, they go to the emergency room, they get care when they're sicker than they otherwise would
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be if they could see a doctor, and then we'd pay for it. that's what we want to change and will change under health care reform. 10* this is aboureform so this is about many things mr. president. we know we have a system in america that for many works. they are blessed, we are blessed to have health insurance that for many that have insurance that allows them to cover what their family needs, the system works well. but for many others, it does not, and the reality is, we all pay for a system that does not work effectively for everyone. we all end up paying. because the reality is, you can say, well, i'm not going to buy a car and i don't need car insurance. or i'm not going to buy a house and i don't need house insurance. but sooner or later, you're going to get sick and just
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because you don't have health insurance doesn't mean there is not going to be a cost for yourself and your family. we are a great country. we can do better than what we are doing today. we have to do better. we are working hard to have a bipartisan effort that will move reform forward in this country to make a real difference, to change the system that it works for every one and begins to lower the costs over time of what is happening, the explosion in health care costs in this country. the option of saying "no" is just not good enough. "no" equals the status quo. and we just can't have that. and just to -- let me just say that the public get it,
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mr. president, and it's time for us to get it as well and move forward. thank you, and i -- thank you very much. mr. mccain: mr. president? could i just call up this amendment. mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: mr. president, i call up the lieberman-kyl amendment and ask for its immediate consideration. it's at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from arizona, mr. mccain, for mr. kyl, proposes an amendment numbered 1628. mr. mccain: mr. president, the amendment is in the name of senators kyl and lieberman. i'm calling it up on their behalf. the presiding officer: is there further debate? without -- if not, all in favor say aye. those opposed, nay. the ayes have it.
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the amendment is agreed to. mr. mccain: thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona -- mr. alexander: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tefnl tennessee. mr. alexander: mr. president, if it's agreeable with the managers, i'd like to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. alexander: thank you, mr. president. i listened carefully to the senator from michigan, republicans, and i believe most democrat, want health care reform this yeemple the president said he wants -- see in reform this year. the president said he wants health care reform this year. we want to make sure it's done right. let's put it this way. if we were in an operating room and a parity came in seriously ill -- patient came in seriously ill and we knew we only had one chance to save that patient's life and to make that patient healthy, our goal would not be to see if we could do it in the next week, it would be to see if we could get it right. and so far, the proposals that we have seen coming out of the
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committees have not gotten it might say, well -- one might say, well, that's a republican view of democratic proposals, and perhaps it is. but the proposals we've seen coming out of the senate health committee and out of the house of representatives flunk the most important test which is cost. the most important test is whether americans can afford their health care and, after we get through fixing it, whether they can afford their government. and according to virtually everyone we've heard from, the legislative we've seen simply doesn't meet that test. in my opinion, what we should do instead is start with the framework of the bill sponsored by democratic senator wyden and republican senator bennett, which has 14 senators: 8 democrats, 6 republicans. it's a different sort of framework that's able to -- to offer virtually every american coverage, to do it without any washington takeover or
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government-run programs, and to do it according to the congressional budget office, without raising the debt one penny. now, remember, i said that's a framework. i don't agree with every single part of that bill, although i'm a cosponsor, but it would be a much better place to start than what we've seen so far. and that's just not my opinion. lately we've heard a lot about the mayo clinic in rochester, minnesota. in studies, president obama has talked about the nay joe clinic, and the point is that at the mayo clinic and at other clinics around the country, there's some fairly significant differences between these places that get better outcomes -- in other words, if you go there and come out, you're more likely to be well -- at a lower cost. and the question is why. the president has repeatedly pointed to the mayo clinic. democratic senators point to the mayo clinic. republican senators point to the mayo clinic. well, here's what the mayo
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clinic had to say on friday about the legislation that's beginning to come out of the house of representatives quote -- "although there's some positive provisions in the current house tri-committee bill, including insurance for all and payment reform demonstration projects, the proposed legislation misses the opportunity to help create higher-quality, more affordable health care for patients. in fact, it will do the opposite." that's the mayo clinic talking. "in general" -- the same the stt conditions -- "it is not patient focused or results oriented. lawmakers have failed to use a fundamental lever: a change in medicare payment policy to help drive necessary improvements in american health care. unless legislators create payment systems that pay for good patient results at ream costs, it is promise of transformation in american health care will wither. the real losers will be the
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citizens of the united states of america." that's the mayo clinic about the bill that we're just beginning to see in the house of representatives. now, i think the prudent thing to do is to try and make that bill better or start over. it's certainly not try to pass a thousand-page or 2,000-page bill in a week or ten days without knowing what's in it, as we did with the stimulus bill earlier this year, and we saw the results. that's not just the -- the opinion of the mayo clinic. here is -- here is a letter to house members on july 16, just a few days ago, from a number of clinics, including the mayo clinic. these are the gunderson lutheran health system, the iowa clinic, the marshfield clinic, the rural wisconsin health cooperative, thedecare, wisconsin hospital association. i ask consent that this letter be placed in the record
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following my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. alexander: and it goes on to say, "on behalf -- we're some of the nation's leaders in health care delivery." these are the people whose hospitals we go to, whose clinics we go to when we're sick or when we hope to stay well. and we write you to comment on the house bill, they say. "we applaud the congress for working on this. however, we've got significant concerns." they go on to say three of them. one -- the first is about the medicare-like public plan, as they call it. a public plan with rates based on medicare. they say it will have a -- quote -- "severe negative effect" on their facilities, that they lose a lot of money every year, hundreds of millions of dollars. because what happens is, medicare, a government-run plan, pays its doctors and its clinics and its hospitals about 80% of what private insurance companies
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are paying. so 177 million of us have private insurance of one kind or another. if a doctor sees us, you get paid 100%. but if you go to one of these clinics and hospitals, you're paid, according to th accordingt rate, which is 80% of what's in the private -- private rate. they say that's -- that's not sustainable for them. that if that continues, that some of these providers, such as the mayo clinic, will eventually be driven out of the market. what market? the market for medicare patien patients. those are the 45 million senior americans who absolutely depend on medicare for their service, because for most of them, that's their only option. and if that's the case, what that means is that they won't be able to go to the mayo clinic or to the merit care health system or for t to the iowa clinic or e
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doctor they choose because that doctor won't be the part of the medicare system because of low reimbursement. so that's the first objection that these clinics make to -- to the bill that they see coming, because the bill they see coming proposes to create another government-run plan with government-set rates. the second and third objections they have are geographic payment disparities. they say that we're a big country and there ought to be differences in pay among different geographies. and third, and maybe this is the most important of all, that the president has said and many of us in the senate have said that we need to change the way we pay for medical care. and we ought to pay more for value, for quality, for results and less for volume n. plain in plain english, not how many patients a doctor can see but how many of his patients or her
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patients stay well or get well. we've talked about that for weeks here in our hearings. but what these respected voices in medicine are saying is that legislation that we see today -- and understand, this is not even in a bill that's presented to us in the senate yet in a way we can act on it -- doesn't meet the test for them. the -- the legislation which we've seen so far, mr. president, is running into a willot of trouble. david broder, the respected columnist in "the washington post," says, that the plans, which have been passed in a partisan way -- i mean, they're democratic plans. we have republican plans that we would like to have considered. i mentioned the wyden-bennett plan, which is the only real bipartisan plan here. not given one bit of consideration so far in the united states senate. and then senator burr and senator coburn have a plan. senator gregg has a plan. senator hatch has a plan. we all have different ideas, as
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i said. we'd like for them to be considered. but if th of the democratic plat are now being considered, david broder says -- quote -- "badly flawed and overly expensive." last thursday, the head of the congressional budget office, douglas elmendorf, and the congressional budget office, of course, is the nonpartisan office in this congress that we count as an umpire to tell us what we're really doing. it's not supposed to have any political rhetoric. douglas elmendorf was asked at a senate budget committee hearing what he thought about the bills which had begun to emerge. he said -- quote -- "the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs." in other words, here we go, at a time when we're in a recession and where the president's proposals for other programs will add more to the debt in the next 10 years, three times as
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much as we spent in world war ii and we're talking about legislation to add another $1 trillion or $2 trillion and we have not dealt with costs which is where we ought to start. look at the 250 million who have health care and ask, can you afford it? and after we fix it, can you afford your government? what the head of the c.b.o. is saying as far as government is, the answer is "no." the lieuen group, a well respected private agency was asked what would happen if we had a government program which many of us believe will lead to another washington takeover? we're getting acuss testimonied to this, washington take yoafs of banks, of insurance companies, of student loans, of car companies, now maybe of health care. the group said 88 million people will lose their private employer insurance. how could that happen? well, it could happen because a small employer or a big employer would see one of these mans that is beginning to come out take
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place. to be specific, the senate "help" committee plan says you ever have to provide everybody who works for you insurance or pay $750. there are a lot of employers who can't afford to provide everybody the kind of insurance envisioned and they will say, okay, we will pay the $750 fine to the government. what happens? all of those employees lose their health insurance. where do they go? into the government plan. that's their option. now, some of them may is a choice of other plans. but if they do have a choice and one of the choices is a government-run plan, it may have the same future that the mayo clinic and other clinics were saying medicare was causing to them. the government will set a low price to doctors and a low price to the clinics and all of these employees who now have insurance that they like, they'll lose
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that insurance because of the passage of this bill, the government will set the provider rates and physician rates low and they will be part of a government plan that has many doctors and many hospitals and many clinics who won't offer services like giving somebody a because tickegive somebody abuss ticket to a bus station with no buss. and medicare will pay for half of the bill for the uninsured in one bill proposed. if we are to find savings in medicare and take from the 45 million elderly people who depend on medicare every bit of those savings ought to be plowed back into medicare and not spent on some new program so i don't think that legislation paid for half by medicaid cuts is going
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to go very far in this chamber. then the employer taxes. according to the national federation of independent businesses, the house version has 8% federal payroll tax. i mentioned the senate version is $750 annual fine per employee if the employer doesn't offer insurance. the nfib, national federation of independent businesses, small businesses, estimate that will lose about 1.6 million jobs. how could that be? if a small employer or even a large one has government-mandated costs added to it and they have less money they will hire less employees. that is an option they have. then there's the income surtax. see, there's a whole string of trouble here for the bills. "usa today" on monday said it is the highest tax rates in a quarter of a century proposed,
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45% top tax rate with all taxes included. and then rationing. there are provisions in this bill which would have the government make decisions of which treatment you will have and how long you have to wait to see a doctor. and, finally, mr. president, and i say "finally," because this is the subject i want to spend just a moment on, it's the medicaid state taxes. sometimes this gets confusing: 177 million americans have private insurance but a lot of people have government insurance now, veterans do, military people have tricare insurance. about 45 million older people have medicare. but then there's a program called medicaid which is the largest government-run program, about 60 million people are in it now. and the federal government pays
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about, oh, 57% of it and the states pay 43% of it and every governor i mow and i was once one, has struggled with the medicaid program. i once came up here in the early 190's and asked proceeding to take it all let the federal government run it and give us gives all of kindergarten through the 12th. it was a badly managed program and i saw a couple of democratic governors earlier at a different hearing and they talked about the story every governor faces if you have an extra dollar and you want to put it in higher education to improve the quality of the university of colorado or tennessee or key tuition from going up, what happens to it? that dollar is stolen because it has to go in the increasing medicaid costs. it's an inefficiently managed program. the federal government keeps changing the rules.
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the governors have to get permission from washington, d.c., whenever they make minor changes. and it is demolishing state governments right and left. and more than that, and this is the important thing to say because if our real goal is to help people and these new plans would say to low-income people defined by, say, a family of four that makes less than $32,000, their only option is to go into the medicaid program under this plan. so it's estimated by the congressional budget office and others that 15 or 20 million machines will be added to the 60 million in the medicaid program. what are they going to find weapon they get there? they're going to find 40% of the doctors don't see medicaid parents. and within you add another 15 or 20 million people to it it may be a larger number. why don't they do it? for the same reason the mayo
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clinic warned of this government plan in its letter: because medicaid only pays its doctors and hospitals about 72% of what medicare pays. if you are confused by that, it works out simply. medicare pays 80% of what the private insurers pay and medicaid pays about 72% of what medicare pays so if you are a doctor or a clinic or a hospital you get paid about 60% if you are helping medicaid patient then you would if you are helping one of us who has his or her own private health care. and you can see that will be a pernicious friend that if we continue to dump low-income people into a government-run medicaid program that's what will happen. now that's another thing that happens with medicaid because
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many members of the committees that are working on this bill say we can't let that happen, we can't be inhumane and just say we're out here to help people who are uninsured and well dump 20 million of them into a government-run program that doesn't have enough doctors and hospitals and clinics so we have to raise what we pay to dorvegs and clinics. that sounds good, market, but that's very expensive way to go about it particularly for a program, medicaid, that one out of every $10 is fraudulent, one out of $10 is wasted. that's $32 billion a year and that's the program we're going to expand? that's the program we're going to say, co congratulations go io this program where you will not find a doctor when you want one and there are a lot of doctors and clinics and hospitals that
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won't take you. and then we will raise the rates. so here's the proposal. the proposal is we're going to increase the number of people who are elgible for medicaid -- this is the program for low-income americans -- by 133% to 150% of the federal poverty level. that's a substantial increase. and then if we're going to do that and put many more people into the program we're going to have to order an increase in what we pay the doctors and the clinics to serve -- maybe up to 83% or 85% of the medicare level. let me just talk about what that would do in one state. we called the state medicaid director in tennessee. our program is called ten-care. we said, what would it cost tennessee if we increase coverage of medicaid of up to
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150% of the federal poverty level? the answer came back, nearly $600 million a year. that's the state's schaefer the cost, a little more than a third. the federal government share is twice that so the federal government is saying, okay, that's all right, we know ten they doesn't have the money to do -- we know tennessee don't have the money to do it so we will pay it for the first five years. we were told when we were working on the bill after five years we will shift the costs back to colorado, back to tennessee. so back comes what in today's dollars is $600 million to the state of tennessee. but remember, i said this is a program that doctors don't want to go to because they don't get paid well so we have to increase the amount of money that we pay
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doctors. so if states are required to pay doctors and providers under the medicaid system 110% of what medicare has paid that still is less than what doctors and hospitals get if they see someone with private health insurance, that's about the same amount of money, about $600 million added just in the state cost another $1.6 billion. so let me make sure i've got my numbers right here, but the total cost -- yes, that's about right. so we would be having about $1.2 billion cost overall, federal and state, for paying physicians and hospitals more. and about $1.2 billion cost overall for all of the new people in the medicaid program.
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that's a huge amount of munch we throw around dollars up here and figures that make any amount of money unimaginable. what is $1 trillion, $10 trillion, $40 trillion? we can't imagine. our former governors have figured if, in five years you shifted back to tennessee, just their share of costs from the expansion of medicaid, paying the doctors and hops more, it would be, the bill for the state of tennessee to pay an increased medicaid cost would be an amount of money that equals a new 10% state income tax. the truth is, for our state and i believe for almost every state, it's an amount of money that nobody has enough taxes to pay. you could run politicians in and out defeat them for raising taxes all day long and they still couldn't come up with ways to pay for it. in other words these bills are based on a premise and assumption that will either bupt the states or if the federal
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government says we will pay for it all it will add $500 billion or $600 billion to the legislation we are considering. mr. president, we need to think that through. is that really the best way to help people who are low income? i don't think so. i think there are much better ways. the wyden framework is better, rearranging the tax deductions we have for people who have employer -- health insurance from their employers and says take the available money and give the money to low-income people who then buy private health insurance -- it may be a very basic plan -- but at least they have health insurance and they are not stuffed in a government program at 40% of the -- that 40% of the doctors wouldn't see and many of the
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best clinics and hops wouldn't allow them to come in and we have been told by the congressional budget office that wouldn't add a penny to the debt and not only does it not create a new government program it actually makes the medicaid program, except for americans with disabilities, history. in other words, if you're poor, you're not stuffed in a program that nobody else would want to join anyway. autograph chance to buy your own insurance and you're not consigned to the worst-run government program that we have today. so there's some real possibilities with health care, and there's some plans on the table that will lead us in the right direction. and we have advice from distinguished americans with a stake in this, which is every single one of us, but the most distinguished are those who deal with it every day. i mean, if the mayo clinic is
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saying that "the proposed legislation misses the opportunity to help create higher-quality, more affordable health care for patients, in fact it will do the opposite," shouldn't we slow down an get it right, mr. president? shouldn't we get it right? this is the only chance we have to do this. if we do it wrong, we won't undo it. this is 16%, 18% of the american economy that we're talking about. people have tried to do it for 60 years, and they failed. and the only way we'll do it is if we do it together. the democrats have big majorities over on that side. they do in the house. but that's not the way things usually happen around here. the president has said -- and i take him at his word -- and many of the leaders have said -- and i take them at their word -- that we'd like to get 70 or 80 votes for the health care result. we would, do. but you're going to have to do
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that the way we usually do. we get some democrats and some republicans and they sit down with the president and they share ideas and they agree on some things. they don't just say, okay, here it is. we're going to vote down almost every significant idea you have on the way through. now, i respect the fact that senator baucus is trying to do that in the finance committee. and perhaps he'll succeed working with senator grassley and with others. but, mr. president, this is -- this is going to take some time. it can't be done overnight. i mean, there are many sections to this bill. each of them might be 500-pages long. they have enormous consequences to individuals, to -- i mean, that's why you have all these clinics writing and saying, "if you do it the way that it looks like you're going to do it you may drive us out of the business of helping medicaid patients." and do we really want stood that? do we really want to say to the 45 million americans who depend on medicare, we're going to pass a bill that will accelerate the
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process whereby respected clinics and the doctor you might choose won't see you anymore because they can't afford to? because the government won't pay them under the system we've got. so i'd suggest that we start over, literally. and listen to these clinics and doctors and focus on the delivery system and focus first on those 250 million americans who already have health insurance, and ask the question, "can they afford it?" and what could we do to make it possible for those americans ho to afford it? and can we do it in a way that permits us to be able to honestly say when we're through that those same 250 million americans ar can afford their government without adding to the debt? then let's look at the 46 million people who are uninsured. of course we need for them to be insured. but the fact of the matter is, 20 million of them or so are
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already eligible for programs we have. 10 million or so are noncitizens, half of them legally here, maybe half of them not. a large number of them are making $75,000 a year and could afford it but just don't buy it. another significant number are college students. so we're going to have to go step by step by step by step and see in what low-cost way can we include a large number of these 46 million americans who are not part of the system in the system? but that's the wrong place to start. that's the place to end. so, mr. president, all i'm saying is that on the republican side of the aisle, we can tell you what we're for. some of us are for the wyden wyden-bennett bill with our democrat colleagues. that's the only bipartisan bill before us today. hasn't even been seriously considered by this body, but it's there and has significant support in the house. we have got two doctors over here -- dr. barrasso, who's been
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an orthopedic surgeon general an original pee -- surgeon for 25 years. dr. coburn, an ob-gyn. so far their ideas aren't be adopted in the process. you have senator gregg from new hampshire, one of the most respected senators who's been a part of many bipartisan efforts and he's got his own bill in. he'd like to be a part of it, but his ideas really don't fit the way things are going. but the way things are going are too expensive for the congressional budget office and take us in the wrong direction, according to the mayo clinic. so maybe we ought to step back and say, well, let's listen to these other ideas. let's go very carefully. let's work with the president. let's see if we can get a result and let's keep a four-letter word out there that's a good word, and that's "cost." and make sure that we focus
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first on the 250 million americans who have health insurance and make sure they can afford it, and, second, make sure that when we finish fixing health care, that those same americans can afford their government. i thank the president, and i yield the floor. mr. burris: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. burris: thank you, mr. president. throughout this nation's history, our freedom and at times our very survival has rested squarely on the shoulders of the men and women of our armed forces. as a member of the armed services committee, i'm proud to know many of these brave war fighters that we have. we rely upon their training and discipline. we depend upon their service and their sacrifice.
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and in return we owe them nothing but the very best. that means keeping our commitment to every soldier, sailor, airman and marine at every stage in their clear, from the day they report to training -- in their career, from the day they report to training, to the day they retire and beyond. we can start to honor this commitment in the most basic way, mr. president, by ensuring that their facilities are safe and that they're adequate. that is why i plan to introduce an amendment that would help eliminate vegetative encroachment on training ranges. excessive vegetation can actually render training grounds unusable, and if a training range is heavily overgrown, it can lead to dangerous situatio
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situations, including fires and obstructed lines of sight. a recent study by the u.s. army, 70% of the facilities surveyed are experiencing limitations due to uncontrolled vegetation. this is unacceptable, mr. president. mr. president, we must take action now. my amendment calls upon the secretary of defense to perform a comprehensive study of training ranges across every branch of the military. we must develop a plan to reclaim any overgrown land for its rightful use by our fighting men and women of america. this will help us ensure that we can train them adequately and safely so they can fully prepare for any mission they're assigned to perform. mr. president, we cannot stop
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there. our commitment began on the day someone volunteers for service in the armed forces. but it doesn't end, even after their service has drawn to a close. mr. president, that is why i believe it is important to extend dislocation benefits to every service member, including those whose service is coming to an end. over the course of a career in the american military, a serviceman or woman and their family may be ordered to relocate a number of times, moving here, moving there, this assignment, that assignment. each move can be quite costly. more basic travel expenses for the purchase of household goods, utilities, to rent -- it takes a lot to relocate an entire family.
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since 1955, congress has helped members of the service defray these costs by paying a dislocation allowance to each person reassigned to a new duty station. this eases the financial burden on military families and means that personnel decisions can be made without fear of breaking the bank, at least for most service members, that is. unfortunately, those who retire are not covered under the current system. despite the fact that their final orders require a permanent change of station. so, after years of supporting service men when we ask them to relocate, we abandon them at the time of their final move. we leave them to fend for themselves, even though expens s they incur will be as high as
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ever, and even though their income has been reduced to half of what they had been paid during active duty. so, mr. president, we simply cannot stand for this. we cannot allow those who have served us honorably to be left out in the cold at the end of their careers. we must offer these benefits to all members of our armed forces, even those who have been asked to moch fo move for the last ti. that is why i'm calling for a study to examine the feasibility of extending the dislocation allowance to retiring service members. we should find a way to make this work, mr. president. the cost of moving demands it. our service members support t and most importantly, it is the right thing to do for our troops. my colleagues, members of this great body, let us come together to stand up for those who sacrifice on our behalf and protect this great country of
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ours. allows us to do what we do in america with freedom and opportunity. let us provide our men and women in uniform with the support they need at every stage of their careers, from the first day of basic training to the day that they are discharged. cutting down on vegetation encroachment will help our trainees and help us prepare them for years of honorable service. and when that service ends, dislocation benefits will help them retire from -- with some measure of financial security, mr. president. so i urge my colleagues to join with me in supporting these initiatives that i put forward. we owe our troops nothing less. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor, and if -- i yield the floor and -- i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. ed ared are mr. president, i would note the absence of a -- mr. reed: mr. president, i would note the absence of a
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quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. demint: i ask that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. demint: and i might speak for up to ten minutes as in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. demint: thank you, mr. president. i'd like to talk a few minutes about health care and the need for health care reform in the country today. i think most americans would agree that we need to do
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everything we can to make affordable health insurance available to every american, and hopefully that's what this health reform debate will be about. unfortunately, we're seeing a pattern develop here that's been going on all year since the president took office and has many americans alarmed at the rapid pace that we're spending and borrowing and proposing new taxes and taking over various aspects of the american economy. i know a lot of americans are alarmed. some are outraged. and more than any other comment, i'm just hearing americans say why don't you just slow down and read the bills before you continue the expansion of government. now we're talking about health care, and we see that same pattern of crises and rush and has to be done today. hair's on fire type of mentality
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here in washington that we almost have to call this a son of stimulus health care bill, because certainly the last time the president tried to ram a massive bill through congress before we had a chance to read it, we ended up with this colossal stimulus failure that has actually resulted in the loss of jobs in america and a burden of debt on our children that is almost unimaginable. it makes no sense for us to follow that same pattern with health care. nearly 20% of our economy have a government takeover with a bill that we haven't even completely seen yet that's supposed to be passed in the next two weeks, even though the bill wouldn't takesque until 2013. what -- take effect until 2013. what's the rush? the purpose of the senate is supposed to be the place where the legislation comes to cool down, where we deliberate, look
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at the details. the president himself has admitted he's not aware of the details of the bill, the bill that he is out selling every day. we do have serious problems in health care that we need to fix. the unfortunate thing is i have no confidence that the president actually wants to make health insurance affordable and available to all americans, because when he was in the senate, republicans proposed a newspaper of alternatives that would have done just -- proposed a number of alternatives that would have done just that. yet in every case, every opportunity that he had to make health insurance more available and affordable to americans, he voted "no." let's just review some of them, because i really think we have to recognize that the point of this health care debate is not to make sure that every american is insured but to make sure the government is running our health care system. the most personal and private part of our lives they're talking about turning over to bureaucrats at the federal
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level. this makes no sense. one of the basic things that we could do is to be fair to those who don't get their health insurance at work. if people get their health insurance at work as we do here in congress, your employer can deduct the cost of it, and the kphraoe is exempt from paying tax -- and the employee is exempt from paying taxes on those benefits, equivalent to a $5,000 benefits to family who get health care or health insurance at work. why can't we offer that same fairness to americans who don't get their health insurance at work? it's something that i actually proposed here in the senate while president obama was a senator. that we would give fair tax treatment -- at least let them deduct it from their taxes. he voted "no" as did, i believe, every democrat, and they killed
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the bill in the house. this was just basic fairness to make health insurance a little more affordable to people who didn't get it at work. the president voted "no." you hear a lot of talk of we need a government plan to make the private plans more competitive. why not just make all the insurance companies compete with insurance companies all over the country instead of what we do now? a lot of americans don't know that the reason we don't have a competitive private health insurance market is that the federal government makes it impossible. you have to buy your health insurance in the state where you live. so few insurance companies basically have monopolies in every state in the country. what if someone like me who lives in south carolina could look all across the country, find a policy that i wanted at a better price and buy it? why can't we do that? well, i propose that we do that. we introduced it on the senate floor, that would create a competitive health insurance market, allow people to buy all
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over the country. barack obama voted "no," as did all of the democrats, to kill the bill. now they're talking about, well, we need a government option to create some competition. but to have a real competitive market, he voted against it. what about allowing americans who put money in a health savings account or their employer puts it in there for them, their own money, why not let them use that money to pay for health insurance premium if they don't get it at work? it sounded like a good idea to me, make it a little bit easier, a little more affordable to have your own health insurance. so i proposed that bill in the senate. barack obama voted "no," as did all of the democrats, and they killed the bill. what about the idea of allowing a lot of small employers -- i was a small businessman for years. it was hard to buy health insurance as a small employer,
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but i did. it cost me a lot of money, a lot more than the big employers. but what about allowing a lot of small employers to come together and form associations and buy health insurance so they can offer it to their employees less expensively? it's a good idea that was offered right here on the floor of the senate by republicans. barack obama voted "no," as did most of the democrats, and they killed the bill. here's a long list here i could go through. but every single bill, every single health reform idea that has been proposed here, the president, when he was in the senate, voted against it. everything that would have made health insurance available and affordable to the average american who doesn't get insurance at work was voted "no" by this president. and now he's saying we need the government to take it over because it's not working. the reason it's not working is we won't let it work. the part of health insurance,
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the health care system that works the best today is when you have your own health insurance and you pick your own doctor and you and your doctor stkpaoeud what kind of health care that you're going to get. it's not a perfect system, and insurance companies have a lot of work to do to make things work better because i have to argue with them a lot myself. but the part of the health care system that doesn't work is the part that the government runs. medicaid and medicare, schip and tricare. and some of the people who get those benefits, like our seniors, say medicare works just fine. unfortunately, doctors don't want to see them coming because medicare and medicaid don't cover the cost of even seeing the patient. and so many physicians are closing their practices to our seniors because they have government health insurance. government health care does not pay enough for the physician and the hospital to see the patient, so they shift the cost over to the private market.
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and the worth part of all of these government plans is they're trillions of dollars in debt, debt our children are going to have to pay back. these programs are broke. yet, they want to expand these programs. they want to take the part of health care that's not working and essentially force it on every american. they want every american to have a medicaid plan where doctors don't want to see us coming because w*er not paying enough of their costs. folks, as i look at this whole health care reform debate -- and i'm glad to see the president now taking shots at me or saying we've got to stop him on this, because we've been on a rampage since he took office passing one program after another, expanding spending and debt at levels we never even imagined in this country. it's time to slow down and take stock of where we are. other countries that have to lend us money to keep us going are beginning to wonder can we pay our debts. we've doubled our money supply by the federal reserve, and that
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means big inflation, higher interest rates. yet, we're moving ahead with this health care plan that's going to expand our debt as a nation, raise taxes on small businesses that create the jobs. it looks like we're going to penalize americans who don't decide to buy health insurance. and we're phaoufpg, again, towards a government program that we know won't work. there's not one federal program that has worked as advertised, that has worked to the budget that we said it would be to. this week we've had announcements of what we've already passed as far as stimulus over the past year is going to mean trillions of dollars, trillions of dollars that we're going to have to borrow, that our children are going to have to pay back. my appeal to my colleagues is this: we don't need to rush through a bill in the next two weeks before we go on our august break that affects one-fifth,
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20%, of our total economy, that gets the government to effectively take over the most personal and private service that we ask for as americans. we don't need to pass a bill like that that we won't even have time to read. what the president and i think a lot of proponents of this bill are afraid of is that we're able to go home on the august break and we take this bill and we put it on the internet where people can really read it and radio talk shows and bloggers around the country are able to tell the american people what this bill is and what it will do, and get past this utopian rhetoric that we're hearing from the president and really look at the nuts and bolts, because everything he's saying this bill is going to do, the congressional budget office and other experts are saying no, it isn't going to work that way. it isn't going to save us money. it will raise our taxes. it's going to cost jobs in america and it isn't going to fix health care. we need to go back to the basics
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that would really reform health care and make private health insurance work better, make it more affordable and get it into the hands of more americans. why should we give up on freedom and move to a government plan when we haven't given freedom a chance to work in health care? i know the government can't run health care, and i don't want them running my plan. one of the best ideas i've heard in this debate is whatever we pass, congressmen and senators ought to have to take that health plan. and i'm going to have an amendment to that effect if they try to get it on the floor before august. but i appeal to my colleagues. let's listen to the american people. let's stop this rampage towards bigger and bigger government. let's take our time and look at this bill, and for once do something right. you know, our health depends on it. thank you, mr. president. i yield back. the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the pending amendment be laid aside
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in order that i might call up amendment 1515. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. nelson: mr. president -- the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from florida, mr. nelson, proposes amendment number 1515. mr. nelson: i ask consent that the amendment be considered as read. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. nelson: mr. president -- mr. president, this is the widows and orphans amendment. this is that dasterdly thing where there is an insurance payout that service members pay insurance premiums, and or
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retirees pay premiums, that is offset by a veterans department disability compensation that otherwise the veterans surviving spouse and children would be able to, under existing law, be eligible for both, but there's an offset. this particular amendment is going to eliminate that offset. and every year we come to the floor on the defense authorization bill and we offer the amendment and we have an overwhelming vote in the senate and every year it goes to conference and for years and years in the conference committee with the house what
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they would do is they'd say, no, you can't pass an amendment that would even reduce the offset for widows and orphans. and only in the last couple of years have we had some modest reduction of the offset. and then on the -- on an earlier piece of legislation this year, we had a little bit more reduction of the offset and what this amendment will do is completely eliminate the offset. now, i just want to point at the outset that i have a letter and i'd like to enter this into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. nelson: this is a letter supporting this legislation from the military coalition.
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and the military coalition is a group of 34 organizations -- their signatures are here on the record alphabetically from the air force association all the way to last on the list of 34 is the veterans of foreign wars of the u.s. and all those organizations that you would expect -- 34 of them endorgs thiendorsing this amend. so i wanted that in the record and i want to tell but this particular amendment. i filed this bill -- this is bipartisan. no, this isn't bipartisan. this is nonpartisan, mr. president. because i filed this bill years ago with senator sessions and
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eight other original cosponsors. and what it will do is repeal the law that takes almost $1,200 per month from families who have lost their loved one because of military service. the survivor's benefit plan, otherwise known by its initial, s.b.p., is an annuity paid by the defense department, survivors receive the benefit when either a military retiree pays a premium as income insurance for their survivors or when a service member dice on -n active duty. the other law is dependency and indemnity compensation, referred
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to its initials, d.i.c. and it is a survivor benefit paid by the veterans administration. and survivor receive this benefit when the military service caused the service member's death. well, what this amendment's going to do is to fix this longstanding problem in which the military survivor benefits system, which the problem is requires a dollar for dollar reduction of the survivor benefits from the s.b.p. paid by the department of defense offsetting against the dependence and indemnity compensation, d.i.c., paid by the veterans administration.
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now, you know the great quote following one of america's bloodiest wars. president lincoln in his second inaugural address, and the war was still raging at that point, said in one of the -- he said that one of the greatest obligations in war is to -- quote -- "finish the work we are in to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle -- in other words the veterans -- and for his widow and orphan." that's the end of the quote. and so, really, following president lincoln's advice to honor, truly, our service
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members, they need to know that their widows and orphans, their survivors, are going to be taken care of. and we certainly agree that the u.s. government must take care of our veterans, their widows and their orphans. and so in keeping with that principle, we need to repeal this offset that denies the widows and orphans the annuity their deceased loved ones have earned on active duty or have purchased for them. a retired military member can purchase this s.b.p. -- and it's an insurance policy that their survivors will have income. but over here in the veterans administration, we've got a law that says if you're disabled, a certain percentage, we're going to take care of you there.
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one should not offset the other. particularly when somebody has paid premiums on an insurance polls really. -- policy. well, that dollar-for-dollar offset is what's got me so agitated, and has had for a decade now. and i've already explained that for the survivor's benefit plan, there are two-way toss qualify -- two ways to qualify. the volunteeree goes out and pays with an insurance program with their retirement income. later the statute was added that the survivor's benefit plan is available to an active duty service member if they are killed as a result of military service.
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for retirees the s.b.p. is an insurance program that protects the income of survivors and for active duty military members, s.b.p. is compensation for the service member's beneficiaries. well, on the other hand, the dependence indemnity compensation is a benefit payment to the survivor's of a service member who dies from a service connected condition. for almost a decade i fought to repeal the law that requires the dollar-for-dollar offset for these two very different benefits. back in 2005, the senate took the step in the right direction and passed by 92-6 my amendment
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to repeal that offset. when it got down the conference committee, you know what happened. in the 2008 defense authorization bill, we cracked the door to eliminating the offset. the conference committee negotiations with the house, we made some progress when we got a special payment of $50 per month which would now increase to $310 per month by the year 2017 because of money savings found in the tobacco legislation passed earlier this year. and our efforts have been important steps in right direction, but they're not enough. we must meet our obligation to the widow and orphan with the
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same sense of honor as was the service their loved one had rendered. and, so, we need to completely offset this sbpdic. mr. president, we he must continue to work it do right by all those who have given this nation their all and especially for the loved ones they may leave to our care. in that letter that i have entered into the record, it says -- and i quote -- "the elimination of this survivor benefit inequity is the top legislative goal for the military coalition in 2009." end of quote. and, mr. president, i ask -- i already asked that it be entered into the record and you will see
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-- and i won't take the time to read the names of the 34 organizations, but they are all fairly well known to every one of us. now, on february 24th, of this year, during a joint session of congress the president said -- quote -- "to keep our sacred trust with those who serve, we will raise their pay and give our veterans the expanded health care and benefits they've earned." well, i say amen to that, mr. president. i ask that president obama's administration help us end this injustice to widows and orphans of our nation's heroes. now, mr. president, may i inquire if there's someone else
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-- some other senator that wants to speak now because if there would not be, i would like to speak as if in morning business. mr. mccainthe presiding officere senator from arizona objects. mr. mccain: i object from the senator from florida going into morning business until we dispose of the amendment. we can do it right away. mr. nelson: i did not make the unanimous consent request. i merely inquired if there was another senator who wanted to speak and certainly i would withhold any such asking for a u.c. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: i would just let my colleague know i do intend to speak on the -- on the thune amendment and was scheduled to speak at some point in the next few minutes. but if my colleague, and if it's
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ok with the two floor leaders, will speak for a brief amount of time, i'd be happy to go after he did and go to the thune amendment. it's up to the two floor leaders. mr. mccain: can i just say, mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: the senator from florida, we'll find out if there are others who want to speak on your amendment. but if not, we would be in favor of disposing of your amendment. and part of the agreement -- could i say that part of the agreement that we made in order for us to proceed was that if anyone came to the floor to speak on the pending amendment, that person, that senator would have priority. so if it's agreeable to the senator from florida, the senator from new york would go ahead and we could go back to your speaking in morning business. mr. nelson: of course. and it is my understanding that the senator from south carolina had just spoken as if in morning business and that's why i was inquiring.
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so i'm very grateful to the ranking member of the committee for us to go ahead and dispose of this amendment. thank you. mr. mccain: why don't we wait until after the senator from new york finishes just to make sure that there is no one else who wants to speak on the senator from florida's amendment. mr. schumer: i would just -- mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: i would say that since my colleague informed me that he needs only five minutes, i would go longer, i would be happy to yield to him and come right after that. the presiding officer: any objection? without objection, so ordered. the senator from florida. mr. nelson: mr. president, i ask consent to be allowed to speak as in in morning business. t. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. nelson: i ask that lee
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shanly from my office be granted floor privileges for the duration of my statement. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. nelson: mr. president, last year we were all transfixed by the nonstop hurricane coverage of hurricanes gustav and ike as they grew into monster storms crossing the caribbean and the gulf of mexico and leaving a trail of misery in their wake. and hurricane ike, the third most destructive storm in the history of the united states, made landfall in galveston, texas, and then tracked through arkansas, illinois, missouri, ohio, and pennsylvania, and it killed 112 people and it caused more than $24 billion in damage. and since 2003, hurricanes and other tropical cyclones have caused more than 2,000 deaths in
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the united states. that's a staggering figure. 40% of all hurricanes that make landfall in the u.s. happen to hit my state of florida, that has more coastline than any other continental 48 of the states. and the insured losses from these hurricanes average more than $5.2 billion per year. a recent study of hurricane-related damages over the last century suggest that economic losses will double every ten years. and with more than 50% of the u.s. population that lives, guess where? within 50 miles of the coast. and with 180 million people visiting the coast annually, well, it's obvious that the risk to life and property are
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going -- are growing. hurricanes, however, don't just impact the coast. and these extreme events also have national consequences such as increased fuel prices, displaced populations, severe inland flooding, as well as a cost to the taxpayers of every state in this nation, whether you have a coast or not. and the american public is increasinglincreasingly aware oe potential costs and the financing of natural disasters. and so senator martinez and i are introducing four bills and they have been introduced today. the commission on catastrophic disaster risk and insurance act of 2009, the policyholder
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disaster protection act of 2009, the catastrophe savings account act of 2009, and the national hurricane research initiative act of 2009. these bills take a proactive approach in addressing these natural catastrophe concerns. and let me say parenthetically that whenever the manager of the bill wants to resume, i will stop my speaking. but if i may continue -- mr. reed: would the senator yield? you can continue your comments, but also we are ready to voice vote your amendment. so when you conclude your comments, if you could offer your amendment, we could dispose of that. mr. nelson: and i thank the distinguished senior member of the senate armed services committee, the senator from rhode island.
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and i will -- i will condense the rest of my comments, because as we are in the hurricane season, it will become painfully apparent just how precarious a lot of the construction is, how precarious building codes are not being fairly and judiciously administered. it will become, as even a mild hurricane hits the coast, what an economic disaster it is. and lord knows if the big one hits -- and the big one is a category 4 for a category 5 hurricane hitting urbanized part of the coast, i -- it is going o create economic chaos, it is going to cause the insurance industry to be on the brink of
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total collapse, and it will ultimately, just like katrina, end up having the u.s. government pay a major part of the bailout economic consequences of a natural disaster like a her cane or an earth -- hurricane or an earthquake hitting the united states. i'm writing. and we ought t that's what senaz and i are doing and and i senator martinez will speak on this at length at a future time. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. reed: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: mr. president, if the senator from florida is prepared to offer his amendment, i have conferred with the ranking member, the senator from arizona, and we -- it's been offered?
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if he was prepared to ask for the yeas and nays, i believe we could voice vote it. the presiding officer: the senator from florida. is there further debate on the bill? on the amendment? if not, without further debate, the amendment is agreed to. the senator from florida. mr. nelson: i move to reand to lay on the table -- reconsider and to lay on the table. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ne new york. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. i know that we are going to -- we are now on the thune amendment. i know we've gone aside for other amendments and i know we'll be debating thune tomorrow morning, but because there are so many of my colleagues who want to speak and i had a lot to say, i'm going to speak for five minutes tomorrow morning but will give the bulk of my speech this afternoon. so, mr. president, i rise in staunch opposition to the thune amendment. i believe it's a dangerous amendment that would go far beyond authorizing gun possession for self-defense and not only create a serious threat to public safety but also severely undercut american federalism. amendment 1618, authored by senator thune, would force states and localities from across the nation to permit individuals from other states to carry hidden and loaded handguns
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in public, even where the elected representatives of those states have chosen to bar these persons from possessing firearms. the legislation would require every state with a concealed carry -- with a concealed carry legislation to honor concealed carry licenses issued by any other state so long as they abide by a state's location restrictions for concealed carrying. this amendment is a bridge too far and could endanger the safety of millions of americans. each state has carefully crafted its conceal carry laws in a way that makes the most sense to protect its citizens. it is obvious what is good for the safety of people in new york city or philadelphia or chicago or miami or los angeles is not the same thing that's needed in rural idaho or rural tennessee.
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and yet this amendment in one fell swoop says that the protections that some states feel they need to protect law enforcement, to protect its citizenry would be wiped away. amendment will incite a dangerous race to the bottom in our nation's gun laws. let's examine the lineup of people that could carry concealed weapons in 48 states under this amendment. and i don't despair ranch each -- despair ranch each state for doing what it wants within its own borders, but why impose that on states outside the borders? arizona law allows a concealed carry permit to be issued to an applicant who was a known alcoholic. alcoholics would be in the lineup. they could carry a concealed weapon in states outside of arizona simply because arizona allowed it to do so.
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texas, which is one of the top ten sources of guns recovered in crimes in new york city -- the city in which i reside -- is obliged to issue a permit to a person who's been convicted repeatedly of illegally carrying a handgun. therefore, we can place arms traffickers in this lineup. mississippi law leaves access to concealed carry permits for members of hate groups. alaska and vermont allow adudult residents of the state to carry a concealed weapon without a license or background check as long as they're allowed to possess a gun, even if they have committed violent misdemeanors, have committed misdemeanor sex offenses against minors or are dangerously mentally ill and have been voluntarily committed to a mental institution. again, each state has its own views. the state of vermont's a beautiful state. it has different -- it's
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different than new york state in many ways. and the laws that fit for vermont don't necessarily fit for new york. a 17-year-old cryn or blood from new york -- dangerous, could be violent -- could head to vermont, attain a vermont driver's license, buy a gun and return to new york. or could buy a whole bunch of guns and return to new york. when law enforcement stops him, a loaded gun tucked in his pants, a whole bunch of guns in his backpack, all he would have to do is claim he is a vermonter visiting new york, show his vermont i.d., and the new york police department is unable to stop it.
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this runs shivers down the spine of new york police officers, of new york sheriffs, of new york law enforcement. and it doesn't just apply to new york. this could apply to any large state. imagine law enforcement stopping one of these characters with a backpack full of guns, a known member of a major gang, and having to let them go. imagine how empowered gun smugglers and traffickers would feel. their business would boom. these are people who make money by selling guns illegally to people who are convicted felons. they could go of go to the state with the weakest laws, get a concealed carry permit, if that state allowed it -- and in all likelihood it might -- and then start bringing guns concealed into neighboring states and states across the country. their business would boom but
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our safety would be impaired. imagine routine traffic stops turned into potential shootouts. police officers in new york have the safety, the peace of mind knowing that the only people who might legally have a gun are those who have been approved by the police department. that's how we do it in a city like new york. we've had our problems with crime. thank god. they're much lower now to the no the great work of new york city police. but now they'd be totally unprepared, walking on tip-toe. and if the criminal simply said, i'm from this state -- wow, i shutter at the thought. and beyond the very real threat poses to law enforcement and the safety of our police officers and the safety of our citizens,
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it would create a logistical nightmare. a police officer making a stop of a car would have to have in front of him or her the laws of all 45 states that would now be allowed -- or whose residents would now be allowed, or even whose people who had gotten carry permits, would now be allowed to carry concealed weapons in new york. what about states' right. i've not been in the side, it's obvious, of the gun lobby for many years i've been here in the house and the senate. i've always believed, though, there's a right to bear arms and it's unfair to say the second amendment should seen through a pinhole and the first, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth should be seen broadly. i don't think that's fair. but every amendment has limitations. through the years when i've been involved in this issue, mr.
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president, the n.ra. and other gun groups have argued the states ought to make their own decisions. all of a sudden we see 180-degree hairpin turn and now they're saying the states can't make their own decisions. why is it that every other issue should be resolved by the states except this one? the amendment flies in the very face of states' rights arguments and takes away citizens' rights to govern themselves. i say to my colleagues who is laws and citizenry who probably want the laws not drawn as tightly as my state, if you open up this door one day you'll regret it. because if you say the federal government should really decide what law governs, you're taking away the states' right to govern yourselves. in the 1990's after the passage
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of the brady act, national rifle association funded multiple legal challenges citing that the right to bear arms presided in the states. indeed, a spokesman for the n.r.a. said "this is not a case about firearms per se but about whether the federal government can force states and local governments against their will to carry out federal mandates." similarly, the reference, the inreference to brady, the -- inive republicans to bradinrefer example said they were getting too involved in state affairs and the gun lobbies' cry has been let the states decide but with this amendment, again, 180-degree flip.
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clearly, large, urban areas merit a different standard than rural areas. to gut the ability of local police and sheriffs to determine who should be able to carry a concealed weapon makes no sense and it is wrong to take away any states' rights to make the decisions about what can make a residence safer. a one-size-fits-all approach to community safety leads us down a very precarious road. mr. president, make no mistake: this is serious. although it is not the intention of the author, a dangerous amendment. there will be needless suffering, injuries and deaths if this amendment is passed. i talked to my colleague, senator thune. we're friends. we saw each other in the gym this morning. he saido me, well, what about
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truck drivers who have the gun in the cab of their truck and ride across state lines? i'm sympathetic to that. i have supported laws that allow police officers in new york to carry their gun when they across over into new jersey to shop or whatever. but you don't need this law to deal with that problem because it creates so many other issues. there are ways we can deal with the problem that the senator from south dakota brought up to me in the gym this morning without decimating state laws that protect individual safety. so make no mistake about it, mr. president, this amendment would affect every state in the country but i don't see the governors on board. it would affect every city in the country. i don't see the mayors on board much it would affect every county in the country.
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but i don't see the sheriffs on board. it would affect every town in the country. but i don't see police chiefs on board. before we rush to judgment, shouldn't we ask our governors, our mayors, our sheriffs, our police chiefs, if this will make our community safe or less safe? if this will put the men and women, the brave men and women who defend us and protect us on police forces, in jeopardy. why don't we seek their guidance? mr. president, i urge my colleagues to give thoughtful and careful consideration to the consequences of this thune amendment and i believe if they do they will societ will vote at tomorrow at noon. i yield the floor. mr. president, i observe the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be suspended. i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. durbin: we are discussing the defense authorization bill. we debate it each year basically an authorization for the expenditure of funds in defense of america. it is a significant bill with a lot of different parts and i want to commend the senators who is brought this to the floor, season levin, the chairman of the armed services committee, his republican counterpart,
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senator john mccain. i know this bill is important and we will return to substantive amendments shortly but while we have this break in the action i want to address another issue being debated in almost every corner on capitol hill. that's the issue of health care reform. it's an interesting issue and an amazing challenge to this congress to try to grapple with the health care system in the most prosperous nation on earth but despite our prosperity we know there is something fundamentally flawed with our health care system. we spend more than twice as much per person in america on health care than any country and the results don't show that money is being well spend. many other cups spending a fraction of what the united states spend end up with very different and much better results. in terms of survival from certain diseases and illness and mortality rates.
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so there's something to be learned here about how we can be more effective in providing health care for our citizens and not break the bank. most americans know what i am talking about when i talk about cost because they are facing cost issues every day. they know health insurance premiums in america in the last several years have gone up three times faster than the incomes and wages of americans. it's not unusual to learn that one-fourth of members spend one out of every $10 in income for health insurance. some small are group but significant group, spend up to $1 out of every $4 on income on health insurance. and the number keeps going through the roof. no end in sight. it worries us. not just as individuals and members of families but businesses that are trying to do the right thing for their employees and be competitive. it worries units of government because whether it's your state
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government providing assistance for medicaid or whether it's the federal government concerned about medicare and medicaid the costs of health care are growing so quickly they could easily put us into a perpetual debt situation, something we don't want to see, something we cannot leave to our children. so now we are debating in the house and in the senate in a variety of different committees how to change this health care system. needless to say it's a contentious debate. there are a lot of different points of view. there are some people and companies in america who want no change in our health care system. most people do. but some don't. many of those who are resisting change who are unwilling to expert the president's efforts to move us in this direction are the very same companies and people who are profiting from the current system. make no mistake within you spend billions of dollars on a system, much more than any other country you will end up in a situation
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where many people are profiting handsomely from the current system. we talk about reform, reducing the costs, reducing the payments, being more cost effective these people see money going out the window and they will fight it. that's what the battle is all about. we've been through it before. and now we've returned to it but in addition to cost, there is also in issue of the availability of health insurance. this morning's "chicago tribune" on the front page told the story of a man who sadly is one of the victims of this situation. he lives in a suburb of chicago, and he works as a doorman at one of the buildings. he had a bad back. and he finally was told -- he tried a lot of conservative treatment. it just doesn't work. you're going to have to have back surgery. so, he did what he was supposed
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to do. he went to his insurance company and he said, the doctor is recommending a surgery, and i want to know if it'll be covered by my health insurance. well, the health insurance company sent back to him written confirmation that the cost of the surgery would be covered by his health insurance. so he went through with the surgery and ended up incurring $148,000 in medical bills. $148,000. i think you know how this story ends. they turn the bills into the insurance company and they denied them, said, we didn't really approve this surgery. you should have taken a more conservative approach to it. well, he thought he'd done everything he was supposed to do. what followed was a battle with this insurance company. day after day, month after month, while people were saying "send us the $148,000," this man of limited means was fighting to
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finally get this health insurance company to pay what they promised to pay. it took him months. when it was all over, mr. napientec -- michael, ended up with coverage. had he failed to get the coverage for that surgery, it would have wiped out his entire life savings. that's the reality of health care. that's the situation too many people find themselves in, so vulnerable in a situation where one medical bill denied by an insurance company bureaucrat can literally wipe out their life savings. we can do better. we have to do better. and that's what this debate is all about. first, we have to reduce the cost of health care for families and businesses and governments across america. there are ways to do that. we can lower costs to make sure that every american has access to insurance. we can make it clear that you can't be turned down for insurance coverage because of a preexisting condition.
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we can make certain there's no discrimination in the premiums that are charged individual americans because one is a male, another female, one is a certain age and another not. we can make certain that there's no fairness in the way people are treated by these health insurance companies. this idea of denying you coverage for preexisting conditions -- imagine how frustrating that must be to realize that, if you turned in a claim this year on your health insurance, because you had a bad back and went to the doctor, next time bh it comes time for a surgery, they won't cover it. this happened to a friend ever mine, a fellow i grew up with in east st. louis, i will, with a trucking business. he not only owned the business, he drove the trucks. when he reached about 60 years of age, his back was killing him. at that point, his company had lost its health snuns. why? because the wife of one of the employees had a sick baby. her sick baby incurred a lot of medical bills and the cost of health insurance went through the roof.
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they had to cancel the company's health insurance and give the employees some money and say, "fend for yourself. " he was in the same boat. he wnts out to get private health insurance, klained about a bad back. the following -- complained about a bad bafnlgt the follower year when the doctor said he needed back surges rirks he turned into -- surgery, he turned in a claim to the health insurance company, they said, no, we won't cover your surgery. he ended up filing a workers' compensation claim stating that his injuries had to do with bouncing around in a truck for years. and you know who sued? he sued himself. he sued as an employee of the company. he sued himself as owner of the company. is that crazy that it reached that point? and he won, incidentally. they said it's subject to workers' compensation. the insurance will pay for the surgery. he had done everything right, providing health insurance for his employees until he couldn't
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afford it, trying to get private insurance for himself at the age of 60, and then turning into a claim and being turned down. he could have been wiped out by that surgery, just as this man on the front page of the "chicago tribune." we're all in this situation because the health insurance companies have so much power over our lives. i listened to those who come on the other side of the aisle -- not all of them, but many -- every single day and say, we don't need to change the system. who are they talking to? who are they listening to? they're not listening to people like these, who find out every day that they don't have coverage, that the cost of insurance is too high, that their dpr i doctor is doctor isr whether you'll get the surgery for the medical condition. that's the reality. there are many ways to address this and we should. we have to address it by macing sure that everyone has access to
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health -- by making sure that everyone has access to health insurance. we've got to get rid of the so-called lifetime caps. imagine that diagnosis tomorrow that you or someone you love in your family has a chronic condition that is going to call for medical treatment for a long period of time and then you realize there will come a moment when that health insurance company say, we're out of here. you just broke the bank. you hit the cap on your policy. we've got to put and end to that we also have to limit the out-of-pocket expenses that individuals have to pay. there comes a point where people can't afford this. we have to require equal treatment for men and women, black, white, and brown, young and old, whether you liv live ia ruler area or a stivment we've got to make sure if you offer a health insurance in america, it is a good policy that covers the basic needs. there are policies that don't. they sell you health insurance you can afford and guess what? it's worthless. that's not good for america and it's not good for our families.
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there are ways to lower costs. we ought to be pushing prevention. we ought to be trying to find ways to keep people well, incentives for the right conduct and the right health outcomes. right now there's not much of a reward or incentive for wellness. we've also got to give support to small businesses. when you look at the uninsured in america, most of them are the employees of small businesses and their children. the poorest people in america are covered by medicaid, the government health insurance, as they should be. folks that are fortunate, like myself and the federal employees health benefit program, a understand most others who have -- and most others who have health insurance coverage, we have coverage. but the folks in the middle that get up and go to work for the small businesses of america and their kids are the ones who don't have coverage. we can do better, and one of the proposals before us in congress is to make sure that small businesses can start getting
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into pools where they can use that pooling power to reach out and have health insurance coverage that's affordable. these are things that are within our reach. mr. president, senator reed is on the floor today and he and i were fortunate to be at lunch today when our colleague from connecticut, chris dodd, got up and spoke about what had happened in the "help" committee, the health, education, labor, and pensions committee in preparing a bill on health care reform. 800 amendments were filed. they met for 61 days, 400 amendments were considered and voted on, over 100 of those were from the republican side of the aisle. they were trying their best to create a bipartisan compromise to get through the bill. but senator dodd came up and talked about this, not in terms of a specific bill and its provisions. he talked about the historic opportunity that we have. he said, for many of us -- most of us now serving in the senate this may be the only time in our
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political careers when we can change this health care system for the better, when we can make sure that people have a better chance to be able to afford the cost of health care in america. and he certainly inspired us when he pulled out this magazine, mr. president, showed us a picture of our colleague, senator teddy kennedy on the coverage of "newsweek" magazine and a quote from ted kennedy is that says "we're almost there." there is a long essay in here about ted kennedy's terrific public career and how much of it has been spent on this issue of health care. what it meant to him personally when his son was diagnosed with bone cancer and had to have his leg amputated, what he went through in a plane crash, when he's seen others, and what they've gone through. and teddy kennedy reminds you these opportunities don't come around very often. there are lots of things that we can debate and argue about, but at the end of the day, the american people want to see the
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debate end and they want to see us act, acting together responsibly for health care that is centered on patients, to make sure that if you have a health insurance policy, that you like, that you can keep it. to make certain you have a good, strong, confident shal, conif il relationship with your doctor, to make sure that health insurance is going to be affordable and to make sure that it covers all americans. we can do it. wwe are a great and prosperous nation. we have a president that is committed to t and working with him on a bipartisan basis, we can get this done many we can work with the health care prostles -- the doctors, the nurses-- --we can work with the health care professionals -- the doctor, the nurses, the hospitals -- that can show us the way to reduce the cost of care without reducing its quawvment for those who are saying "no," they want the
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status quo. they don't want to change it. only a small pranch americans agree with them. most -- only a small percentage of americans agree with them. most of what i talk about today needs to be done. we have to overcome those voices of negativity and doubt who continue to come to the floor, those who create fear of change. let me tell you, this is a great, strong country, that tackles big problems. we've never been assigned a bigger assignment than this one. health care for america. it touches all 300 million of us. we have to make sure it is done fairly, done effect tirvelings and done quickly -- done effectively, and done quickly. if we let this drag out for months, beyond this year, it will be harder and harder for us to reach this goal. i encourage my completion on both sides of the aisle to work -- i encourage my colleagues on both side of the aisle to work towards that goal. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. bond: mr. president? the presiding officer: the
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senator missouri. mr. bond: mr. president, i rise today to discuss an amendment that i am cosponsoring with my friend and fellow cochair of the senate national guard caucus, senator leahy, who will be introducing this bipartisan amendment to strengthen one of our nation's most important military and civilian resources: irk the national guard. now, the national guard, as i think everybody in this body knows, has a long and proud history of contributing to america's military operations abroad while providing vital support and security to civil authorities here at home. since september 11, 2001, our citizen soldiers and airmen have taken on greater responsibilities and risk, from fighting in iraq and afghanistan to providing critical disaster assistance here in the united states. now, we see the tremendous value of the national guard forces every time we loorks as they confront terrorists -- every time we look, as they confront traves terrorists, provide critl
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support for the agribusiness teams where they're providing better know-how and income to the farmers of afghanistan, the areas of where they provide water and health supplies to victims of natural disasters. it provides 40% of the total military force or around 4.5% of the budget. the guard provides tremendous bang for the buck. tad todatoday we're asking for m than ever before, obvious at great cost to their families and their own lives. this means, i think we have a heavy responsibility to support our citizen soldiers and airmen in their unique dual mission of developing military support abroad and providing homeland defense stateside.
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while serving abroad, the national guard troops serve under air force and army commands in what is known as title 10 status, which refers to the section in the u.s. code dealing with the military. when the guard operates at home, they serve under the command and control of the nation's governors in title 32 status. i had the honor of serving as commander in cheech of the missouri national guard for eight years, and i can tell you that missouri mass a wide range -- has a wide range of natural and sometimes human disasters ranging from tornadoes and floods and blizzards and ice storms, and i called out the guard for every single of one of those and several more -- i probably can't even remember -- threatened prison insurrections, other civil disobedience, tracking down escapees from prison. and right after katrina -- i
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think it was about a year after katrina -- i -- i visited jefferson barracks, missouri, where one of our national guard engineer units is stationed. they told me proudly when katrina hit, they immediately hit one of their national guard battalions to katrina. they had all the equipment -- the high-wheel vehicles, communications equipment. they did such a wonderful job, the adjutant general of louisiana said you have two more battalions, send us another battalions. they said that is where the problem comes in. we've got equipment for one of three battalions. the guard is one-third resource. we could have sent them down there in tennis shoes and a taxi cab. but they needed the equipment that an engineer battalion has to deal with the problems of the
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aftermath of the floods and the hurricane. i think there's a lot more we can do to make this unique arrangement work more smoothly. the guard will, i am sure, continue to play a critical role in response to another natural disaster or, heaven forbid, a terrorist attack, and to the men and women of the national guard, we say thank you for that support. but more needs to be done. the amendment we're introducing today to strengthen the guard consists of two planks which are designed, first, to increase the guard's sroeugs inside the pentagon. and -- voice inside the pentagon. second, to clarify how support to civil authorities will occur here at home. we would give the chief of the national guard more muscle in the pentagon, providing a seat for him on the joint chiefs of staff, with 40% of the force, you'd think that that big a portion of our total military capability would deserve to sit with the outstanding leaders of the army, the air force, and the
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marines and the coast guard, the others that are in there. you'd think that this large segment of our force would be represented. when you've got big decisions on the future of our resource allocation for our military, title 10, and in this case title 32, you ought to be at the table. and last year -- and i thank my colleagues -- we successfully authorized the promotion of the chief of the national guard and the rank of four-star general in last year's empowerment legislation. additionally this year's kpwoerpltment will make -- empowerment amendment will make sure the chief has the duties of vice chief. when you're dealing with that many problems, you need an
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administration that needs to be handled by a deputy by a four-star chief of the national guard. it is critical in day-to-day operations of the national guard bureau to make sure the guard is adequately represented inside the pentagon. this amendment will fill the gabs between civilian and emergency response capabilities. we would give the national guard bureau, in consultation with the state's adjutant generals budgetary powers to identify procurement unique to their missions so they would be better prepared to respond to emergencies at hoefplt the next time they call for our second engineer battalion, i hope we've got the equipment to be able to send one to whatever state or maybe our own state where needed. the amendment supports the designation of national guard general officers as commanders of army north and air force north commands. this will ensure unity of effort and unity of command between the national guard and the 54 states and territories and the very
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important united states north command which protects the united states of america in the continental united states. finally, our amendment gives state governors tactical control of federal troops responding to emergency inside their state or territory. time and time again we have seen reserve units stationed within close proximity to a natural or man-made disaster forced to stand by and watch when they could have been assisting injured victims and preventing loss of property. this amendment ensures that all available military forces be utilized as early as possible in an emergency situation. this way our state leaders can act more quickly and decisively to mitigate disasters here at home. mr. president, our citizen soldiers stand ready to defend our nation, secure our homeland from natural disasters or terrorist attacks and are now fighting overseas in the war on terror. either the homeland response or
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the federal military support missions of the guard are likely to diminish in importance in any time in the forseeable future. in fact, the need for the national guard is greater now than ever before. now more than ever as budgets are constrained and entitlements continue to grow at alarming rates, we should not be looking to reduce the guard, but rather fully demand and fully to equip it. we have a responsibility to give the guard the equipment, resources and bureaucratic muscle they need to meet their critical dual mission. in order to do so, i think it's imperative that we strengthen the decision-making capability of guard leaders within the department of defense and make sure that they are at the table as one former leader of the guard said, "if you want us in on the big plays, at least let us in the huddle when you're planning to call those plays." that's what this amendment does. i thank my colleagues for the
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past support of the guard, and i join with senator leahy asking continued support of the national guard by voting for this amendment. mr. president, i thank the chair, and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. brownback: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending thune amendment and call up my amendment, amendment number 1597. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. brownback: i send the amendment to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kansas, mr. brownback, proposes amendment numbered 1597. mr. brownback: mr. president, i ask further presentation of the amendment be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brownback: thank you very
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much, mr. president. mr. president, this is a bipartisan amendment put forward by senator bayh and myself. and i ask unanimous consent that senators kyl and inhofe be allowed to be added as cosponsors to the amendment. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brownback: mr. president, this is a bipartisan resolution and sense of the senate that the administration should reenlist north korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. as my colleagues know, the bush administration, to a great deal of hoopla delisted north korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. they took them off the list in spite of north korea continuing to do terrible and erratic behavior in nuclear weapons and missile technology, now taking u.s. citizens hostage and holding them. the bush administration did an agreement, a deal to delist them as a state sponsor of terrorism. all that got us was more nuclear weapons being detonated, more
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missiles being sent off, more provocative action by the north koreans and a dismal situation. what we are asking with this amendment is that it is a sense of the senate that north korea should be relisted as a state sponsor of terrorism. and i want to, in that regard, enter a couple of things into the record that be placed at the end of my presentation that are currently in the news. this is yesterday's front page of "the washington post" where it talks about north korea's hard labor camps on the diplomatic back burner. and i ask that this full article be entered into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brownback: and, mr. president, that's an old story. unfortunately, we know very well about the gulags that exist in north korea and the 200,000 people we believe that are in those. but here is today's "washington post." this was even new information that i was finding shocking. it was taking place by north korea building mysterious military ties with the military junta in burma.
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now taking place. and the possibility of them giving military equipment and supplies, i suppose possibly even nuclear arms and missile technology, to the military government in burma. and i ask that this be entered at the end of my statement as well. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brownback: mr. president, if that isn't enough to relist them as state sponsors of terrorism, i really don't know what is. but there's a full record that we can go forward with here on relisting north korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. and at the outset, i think we ought to look at this and just say this is an extremely tough situation for the united states. it's one we need to take action and aggressive action to confront the north koreans of what they are doing to militarize some of the worst places and worst actors around the world and what it is doing to threaten the united states' interest. all this taking place while kim jong-il is ill. to what degree, we don't know for sure. secession is being discussed.
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of what nature, we're not exactly sure taking place. but clearly north korea is doing the most provocative things that they have probably done in the history of that provocative nation, and it's taking place right now. and we should notice it, and we should recognize that these are terrorist actions, and we should clearly, clearly call for them to be relisted. i have many times spoken before in the senate regarding the long and outrageous list of crimes of the kim regime, and i'm not going to go through those again in great length. but i will say that the crimes committed by the north korean regime include not only those that are external and diplomatic of nature, violating agreements, treaties, conventions and proliferating dangerous technology to the world's worst actors, but the regime has also committed massive and unspeakable crimes against the north korean people themselves who for decades have been beaten, tortured, raped, trafficked, starved, used as
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medical experiments, subjected to collective familial punishment and executed in the most brutal and painful ways. if you want further details on that, read yesterday's "washington post" article. hundreds of thousands languish in the gulag and concentration camps spread out over the entire country, all the while the world watches and wringing its collective hands as we pledge never again, we watch as yet again another criminal regime commits a genocide. never again becomes yet again. mr. president, i've introduced legislation to address these issues. i hope that the foreign relations committee can find time to take it up. the amendment that is before us today deals with another aspect of the north korean criminal state. it's long standing and robust sponsorship of international terrorism. the amendment would place the senate on record as standing for the proposition that north korea's hostile and provocative
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actions will not be ignored. indeed, they will have meaningful consequences under the law. this amendment, which senator bayh is the lead cosponsor, expresses the sense of the senate that the secretary of state should redesignate north korea as a state sponsor of terrorism based on its nuclear and missile proliferation, abductions and materiel support for terrorist groups. mr. president, on october 11 of 2008, the state department removed north korea from the list of state sponsor of terrorism, as i previously noted, on which it had been placed since 1988. at the time -- this is what president bush said to the north korean regime upon announcing that north korea would be removed. he said this -- quote -- "we will trust you only to the extent that you fulfill your promises. if north korea makes the wrong choices, the united states will act accordingly." they made the wrong choices. we should act accordingly. at the same time, then candidate
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obama said -- quote -- "sanctions are a critical part of our leverage to pressure north korea to act. they should only be lifted based on north korean peformance. if the north koreans do not meet their obligations, we should move quickly to reimpose sanctions that have been waived and consider new restrictions going forward. they have not lived up to their obligations. they have continued provocative actions. they should be relisted. let's examine how well the north korean regime has lived up to its commitment since being removed from the list. since removal last october, the north korean regime has done the following: launched a multistage ballistic missile over japan in violation of u.n. security council sanctions. kidnapped and imprisoned two american journalists and sentenced them to 12 years of hard labor in a north korean prison cavern. pulled out of the six party talks vowing never to return. kicked out international nuclear inspectors and american monitors. restarted its nuclear facilities, renounced the
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50-year armistice with south korea. detonated a second illegal nuclear weapon. launched additional short-range missile missiles. is preparing to launch long-range missiles capable of reaching the united states. and today news accounts are reporting about north korean proliferation to the burmese junta, including perhaps nuclear proliferation. add to this a long history of other ongoing illicit operations that finance the north korean regime's budget including the following: extensive drug smuggling, massive and a complex operations to counterfeit u.s. currency, many of which are believed to be in wide circulation. money laundering. terrorist threats by the regime against the united states, japanese and south korean civilians. that's what this regime and group has done and is doing, and that's some of the things that they've done since they were delisted from the terrorist list. what have we done


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